Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark: A Life of Service

By Mimi Clark Gronlund | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20
An Ending and a Beginning

The first day of the new life.

Tom Clark, 1967, on his retirement

TOM CLARK WAS IN HIS PRIME in the 1960s—a productive writer of opinions, a facilitator who enjoyed excellent relationships with his colleagues, and a defender of the Court whose outside activities brought it needed goodwill. Retirement was not in his vocabulary. In 1967, he was a youthful sixty-seven and in excellent health. We did not anticipate that his career as an associate justice was coming to a close. Then the unexpected happened.

The 1960s were a time of momentous change for our family as well as for the country in general. In 1959, my husband, Tom, our two small daughters, and I moved from Chicago, where Tom had just earned a master of business administration from Northwestern University, to Dallas. Tom, who had resigned from the navy in 1956, had accepted a position with Texas Instruments, and I was thrilled that we were returning to my birthplace, where many family members still lived, including my brother, Ramsey, his wife, Georgia, and their two children. None of us foresaw the dramatic change that would occur in Ramsey’s career and the impact that it would have on our father’s.

Ramsey was nine years old when we left Dallas—six years older than I—and his bond with Texas was much stronger than mine. While Ramsey was still in high school, my father encouraged him to go to an eastern college or to one of the military academies, but Ramsey wanted to return to his home state and attend the University of Texas, our parents’ alma mater. He graduated from the university in 1949 and then from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951. After graduation, he joined the family law

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