Monday, November 1, 2010

Follow-Up Re Clyde Summers

I am re-posting here, with permission, Alvin Goldman's tribute to Clyde:

On Saturday Evelyn Summers phoned to ask us to pass along to friends the information that Clyde  died peacefully in his sleep the previous evening.  Clyde had been living in nursing homes for the past five years after suffering a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.  Well over a year ago he told his family he wanted his remaining time to be handled asa hospice situation with no medications except to ease pain.  Marty Malin and I visited with him last June.  Evelyn had forewarned me that he had days when he was sharp and days when he seemed disconnected.  Luckily, he was very sharp that afternoon and looked quite healthy and strong despite his continued disabilities. Early in the visit with a gentle smile he said something like "I suppose you fellows are here to say goodbye." 

As all of you know, for over six decades Clyde was a highly productive and leading scholar in the labor and employment law field, as well as an outstanding teacher.  What some may not know is that he taught successively at the law schools at Toledo, Buffalo, Yale and Pennsylvania.  In addition to his often quoted articles and notable casebooks in the areas of employee rights, labor, and employment law, he was a leading comparative law scholar and for a number of years co-edited the comparative labor law journal at Penn that Matt Finkin now produces at Illinois.  In recognition of his work he received honorary doctor of law degrees from the University of Stockholm, Sweden and from Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium.  The National Employment Lawyers Association named him Advocate of the Year in 1991, and he received study fellowships from the Fullbright Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, and the National Endowment of Humanities.  In addition, during the course of his career he was a Ford Faculty Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and Columbia University Fellow.

[Labor Law scholars] are familiar with Clyde's Clyde outstanding speaking skill.  He delivered named lectures at the law schools at Northwestern, Louisville, Chicago-Kent, Southern Methodist, Illinois, and Buffalo, as well as the ABA’s Labor Law Section's annual Supreme Court summary.  Over his long career he gave talks or conducted seminars or courses in South Africa, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Mexico, Korea, Poland, and Japan, often being invited back for repeat performances.            

Clyde served as President of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law and of its U.S. Branch.  He also held a variety of appointments to public councils and commissions in Connecticut and New York and for NAFTA and several U.S. government Departments and the National Science Foundation.

Those of us privileged to work with Clyde knew him as a patient listener who encouraged younger colleagues and was always ready to listen to a competing thesis.  Part of Clyde's youth was spent farming and he never lost his love for skilled and unskilled physical tasks.  More than once when phoning their summer home in Vermont, Evelyn explained that Clyde would have to get back to me because he was making repairs on the barn roof or painting the opposite side of the house.   And there are many now solid, mortarless stone walls in Vermont and southern Pennsylvania that Clyde rebuilt out of love for the challenge of fitting the right piece where it was needed.

Marty Malin's Employee Rights and Employment Law Journal recently published a special edition, Volume 14, No. 1, in honor of Clyde with several (including contributions by several Group members) examining his contributions to labor and employment scholarship.  Evelyn reports that he listened attentively and with great pleasure when she recently read the dedications and appreciations to him (the stroke impaired his ability to read).

Clyde’s widow, Evelyn, can be reached at:
608 W Phil Ellena St,
Philadelphia, PA 19119-3509


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