Our hearts are heavy as we say a final farewell to the dear co-founder and former CEO and chair of the College Success Foundation (CSF) – Robert “Bob” E. Craves. The visionary leader passed away on November 5, 2014, following a brief struggle with cancer. He died peacefully, surrounded by his family.

Bob was the leader of the foundation for 13 years since he co-founded it in 2000. He was always a passionate advocate for equal access to higher education for all. As a champion for underserved students, he raised $600 million to further educational opportunities for our most vulnerable youth – including those who were the first in their families to pursue college, low-income youth, students of color and foster youth. After his retirement in 2013, he continued as a board member and an enthusiastic supporter in both Washington state and in Washington, D.C.

Bob was a leader and a giant, and will be remembered by the thousands of young people whose life trajectories he influenced with the gift of education. By the end of 2013, more than 12,000 scholarships were disbursed and nearly 4,000 CSF Scholars had earned bachelor’s degrees, with thousands more still attending college.

Bob was my hero and my friend.

My father died last evening. I had the honor of being with him for the last days, hours, minutes and seconds of his long life. A former high school and college basketball star, Korean War veteran, college math teacher, gentleman farmer and fisherman – but never a “former” marine, my dad died on his own terms and with the same quiet dignity he lived his life.

I am not sure why I put Ernest Hemmingway’s short stories into my computer bag when I drove to spend the night with him on Thursday, but the Nick Adam’s stories always reminded me of the fishing lessons I struggled through with dad when I was a kid.

As dad now struggled during Thursday night and into Friday day and evening, I was reading him this part of “The Big Two-Hearted River:”

IMG_0267.JPGThere was a long tug. Nick struck and the rod came alive and dangerous, bent double, the line tightening, coming out of water, tightening, all in a heavy, dangerous, steady pull. Nick felt the moment when the leader would break if the strain increased and let the line go.

The reel ratcheted into a mechanical shriek as the line went out in a rush. Too fast. Nick could not check it, the line rushing out, the reel note rising as the line ran out. With the core of the reel showing, his heart feeling stopped with the excitement, leaning back against the current that mounted icily his thighs, Nick thumbed the reel hard with his left hand. It was awkward getting his thumb inside the fly reel frame.

As he put on pressure the line tightened into sudden hardness and beyond the logs a huge trout went high out of water. As he jumped, Nick lowered the tip of the rod. But he felt, as he dropped the tip to ease the strain, the moment when the strain was too great, the hardness too tight. Of course, the leader had broken. There was no mistaking the feeling when all spring left the line and it became dry and hard. Then it went slack.

IMG_0270.JPGHis mouth dry, his heart down, Nick reeled in. He had never seen so big a trout. There was a heaviness, a power not to be held, and then the bulk of him, as he jumped. He looked as broad as a salmon.

Nick’s hand was shaky. He reeled in slowly. The thrill had been too much. He felt, vaguely, a little sick, as though it would be better to sit down.

The leader had broken where the hook was tied to it. Nick took it in his hand. He thought of the trout somewhere on the bottom, holding himself steady over the gravel, far down below the light, under the logs, with the hook in his jaw. Nick knew the trout’s teeth would cut through the snell of the hook. The hook would imbed itself in his jaw. He’d bet the trout was angry. Anything that size would be angry. That was a trout. He had been solidly hooked. Solid as a rock. He felt like a rock, too, before he started off. By God, he was a big one. By God, he was the biggest one I ever heard of.

I stopped reading, looked up through tears, and my brother Don and I watched dad’s breath continue to slow until it just stopped.

We and mom, grandkids, great grandkids, family and friends will miss him.

All things turn out OK sometimes:

New York Times – For Personal-Injury Lawyer, Michael Pollan’s Book Is Worth Fighting For

The Chronicle of Higher Education – Washington State U. Reinstates ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ as Common-Reading Choice

The Daily Evergreen – The Donation revives Common Reading

Seattle Business Journal – E. coli lawyer solves WSU ‘Dilemma’

Tri-City Herald – WSU reinstates book critical of agribusiness

By Ross Anderson (former Seattle Times reporter) for King County Bar News

When Wyoming public health workers convened at a Cody meeting room recently, they spent much of three days listening to various authorities bring them up to date on issues from prenatal care to septic tanks to bioterrorism. But the keynote address did not come from a physician; it was delivered by a lawyer.

“Chasing ambulances is only part of what I do,” Bill Marler told them, drawing a ripple of chuckles across the room of about 125 people. “I represent people who are some of the most vulnerable in our society — kids who face a lifetime of kidney damage and possible transplants, all because they ate an undercooked hamburger.”

And he wanted his audience to know that he and public health officials are, or should be, on the same side of those issues.

Marler and his Seattle firm, Marler Clark LLP, specializes in representing people sickened by food-borne illness — excruciating and sometimes fatal disorders caused by toxins such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and hepatitis A. In the past decade, the firm has won more than $300 million in judgments and settlements from corporate giants across the United States.

And yet as Marler travels the country for his clients, he makes frequent stops at hotel meeting rooms to talk — at no charge — to public health departments and environmental health associations, and to trade groups for the restaurant, supermarket, and meat-processing industries.

His basic message: Make my day. Take the logical, common sense precautions, and this society can virtually eliminate food-borne illness, and therefore the lawyers who are associated with it. Put me out of business, please.

It is an unexpected message, coming from an unusual lawyer.

Continue Reading Daniel in the lion’s den or the fox in the hen house?