Farewell to a legend:
6 months have now passed since we lost our Senior and Founding Partner, and Patrick’s father, the Honorable George M. McClure III. George was born to the late Dr. George and Helen McClure of Danville in 1934, and was the grandson of the esteemed Professor George M. McClure of the Kentucky School for the Deaf. George attended the Danville Schools, the Hill School, and Princeton University. Upon graduation George was to be commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy, but elected to transfer his commission to the rank of Lieutenant in the Marine Corp. Upon completing his commission as part of his ROTC scholarship, George was part U.S. Naval Reserves, following in his Dad’s footsteps. During this time George attended the University of Denver College of Law, graduating in the Order of the Coif, while also having his first child, George IV. George practiced law in the oldest firm in Colorado for several years focusing on civil litigation, becoming a particularly accomplished trial attorney in multiple fields and venues.
George returned to Danville, KY in 1969 and in 1972 was appointed to fill an unexpired term as the Boyle County Attorney, while also marrying his lifelong friend and rock Patsy, adding a beloved son Joey Kirk in the process. In 1974 they gave birth to Patrick, who would go on to be his law partner for 15 years.
George was subsequently elected to 7 consecutive terms in office spanning over 3 decades, often without opposition. George was revered by law enforcement, magistrates, Judges, and the defense bar alike. He was renowned for his keen intellect and a brilliant and exceptionally well read mind, but also for his quick wit, his charm, his unassuming grace and his gentle good humor. It is safe to say that he was adored by all who knew him. He allegedly retired in 2002 when his final elected term was finished. However just a few months later he resumed his private practice with Patrick, first in the offices of Eph Helton (in the building where his own father’s medical offices were located), and ultimately with the establishment of our current firm.
He also explored many hobbies and interests throughout his personal life from operating a Ham Radio, to getting his pilot’s license at Goodall (now Stuart Powell) Field and riding his motorcycle, to a of bass fishing and all kinds of boats. He was the third of 5 generations of George McClures to call the Dix River and Herrington Lake his native waters. George was also the patriarch of a group of Kentuckians to make yearly adventures to a very special place called Otty Lake in Canada, where he is oft remembered and missed as well. Many of the town of Perth, ON lowered their Maple Leafs to half-mast when confronted with the news of George’s passing. Among the comforts of word and memory of childhoods and final days is the adored epigram from The Wind in the Willows, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
His splendid behavior knew no borders, cultural, or economic divides. He was known for treating all others as he would be treated, and the same in the eyes of the law (and the fish). More than one has recounted his days not only giving a few dollars to local men of little or no home; but also to sitting with them at the Boyle Pharmacy, Ace Billiard’s, and the Rooster Café. He was likewise always honored to be a member of Anaconda, the Social and Literary Club of Danville founded over 150 years ago, counting among its contributors the most astute of Danville’s medical, legal, and scholarly characters.
George’s was a life well lived, and a man well loved. He practiced law until the Spring of 2018, and while some illnesses kept him from returning to our offices on Main St., he continued to read, investigate, and engage lively conversation about Kentucky basketball, Denver Bronco football, politics, history and his beloved books. His final request for Father’s Day this past June was a “real Coca Cola, and real Oreo cookies”, and he was as thrilled with those gifts from his grandsons as any case he ever won. He passed away 2 days later and would want it known that, clever to the last breath, he did the New York Times crossword puzzle the night before he died. We note that among the last books at his side was a hardback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
From the pages of the Louisville Courier-Journal on the occasion of his grandfather’s passing, and the Lexington Herald-Leader reprising it upon the loss of his Dad, we close and say farewell with these words of Rudyard Kipling, “containing these lines that so well describe his departure from this life:
He scare had need to doff his pride or slough the dross of Earth,
But as he trod that day to Go so walked he from his birth;
In simpleness and gentleness and honor and clean mirth.”
Fare thee well George, the world will miss you, but none more than we your honored partners, children, and friends.