In Memoriam - Tom Clements, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections
Thomas (Tom) Lynn Clements, 58, of Monument, Colorado died Tuesday, March 19, 2013. He was a loving husband and father who spent more than 30 years serving the public in two states with the highest honor and integrity. To view Clements' full obit, please visit The Denver Post: http://bit.ly/14yb1g1. More than 1,000 people mourned the death of Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, on March 25 during a public memorial service at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. Some of those close to Clements, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, celebrated Clements' life with speeches during the memorial.
Clements worked for the Missouri Department of Corrections for 31 years before accepting the position as executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. Missouri Department of Corrections Director George A. Lombardi spoke at Clements' memorial, and the MDOC Honor Guard helped present the colors. Lombardi shared the following at the service: "Thank you Lisa, Rachel, and Sara and Governor Hickenlooper for this opportunity to represent the 11,500 staff and all the commissioners and directors from across the country in honoring the memory of our good and dear friend Tom.
"I will tell you that our Missouri Corrections Family is consumed with grief and sorrow over the loss of our colleague and great friend. Untold e-mails, calls and office visits from staff have come my way, simply needing to share their disbelief and heartfelt empathy for this loss to Lisa and all Tom's family and to you Governor and all our brethren here in the Colorado Department of Corrections. We are overcome with emotion.
"In preparation for coming here, I asked my staff, how best I could represent them in expressing our love and affection for our cherished colleague. One comment that came my way from Tom's friend Julie struck me: Just remember that Tom is listening.
"And so I take that to heart and now would like to believe it is so. So Tom: As we look about this room together, you can clearly see how beloved, respected, and deeply missed you will be by all you have touched in your life. Anyone, here in Colorado, back in Missouri and across this country including your colleagues - the many Directors of Corrections here today have been influenced by you and will cherish what they have learned through you - both professionally and personally.
"All your intelligence, dedication, creativeness and innovation have moved our profession in such positive and effective ways. When you decided to leave us in Missouri for Colorado, I knew you would shine and you did - not only in Colorado but the credibility you established within our Corrections Director cadre was truly remarkable. I recall the conversations we would have when you would call and share a thorny issue you were facing. You would tell me how you planned to attack the problem and I would simply say – Yes, Tom that makes sense - or Wow, Tom that is a good idea - or Gee, that is a novel approach, Tom. Always learning from you.
"But Tom, your professional success and influence with our Corrections family, is secondary in my mind to who you were and are. Your dignity, your compassion, your altruism, your kindness, and positive approach to life are unparalleled. And THAT is what we all admired as much as your skills and knowledge. You were and are a good and decent man.
"Have you looked at Webster's lately, Tom? If you look up the word Gentleman, did you know your picture is there? Your life defined that word in every aspect.
"I thought about how it is we can continue the legacy of what you have accomplished in your life - because we simply must - it is the right thing to do. So...toward that end I would ask my fellow Corrections Directors to stand and take a short pledge.
to Honor the legacy of Tom Clements
by rededicating myself
to the innovative and creative approaches to Corrections that he established and to pass on the philosophy he espoused to my staff and offenders
ensuring the success of both This I pledge."
"And now I need an amen."
"You see, Tom? Your influence in this world will not diminish - it will flourish as we have all dedicated ourselves to do so."
"We are deeply grateful and cherish the time on this earth we were privileged to be with you and please know you will never, ever be forgotten as we will pass on your legacy for the generations to come. Bless you my friend."