Share Your Memories

Please use the post button at the bottom of the page to add your favorite memories of Hugh Calkins.

Ray Wiacek wrote an amazing tribute to Hugh. It is pasted below.  There may be more information at:   http://www.jonesday.com/jones-day-mourns-retired-partner-hugh-calkins-08-06-2014/

Jones Day mourns retired partner Hugh Calkins

August 2014

Hugh Calkins, our long time partner and the leader of the Tax Practice for a number of years, died Monday night. He had battled Parkinson’s for several years.

Hugh was born in Newton, Ohio, in 1924, and after finishing high school went to Harvard. He graduated in 1942 and promptly joined the Air Force, serving until 1946. He then went to Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Law Review and took every honor. After graduating, he clerked for Learned Hand on the Second Circuit and Felix Frankfurter at the Supreme Court.

All this suggests Hugh was smart, and that would be an understatement. His ability to reason, the precision of his analyses, and his comprehension—his sheer intelligence—were of once-in-a-lifetime quality. Mr. Spock of Star Trek would have struggled to keep up. His ability to dictate lengthy work product, complete with headings, footnotes, and citations, was legendary. Who else but Hugh would know on page 20 of his dictation that he was beginning section 4 of his analysis and dropping footnote 17 to the bottom of the page. I can still see him with his dictaphone and the little tapes that went with it. All this would have been frightening to an associate if Hugh were mean, or even if he were stern, but he was not. This does not mean he did not inspire awe, or envy. I remember one associate remarking, “It’s not fair, he’s a Martian.”

On the other hand, he could be impractical. This had two causes. Of course, his intelligence caused him to see very complex solutions as simple, and therefore practical. More important, he had very abundant energy and even more enthusiasm. So to Hugh, everything worth doing was doable. He could have been an early spokesman for Nike, albeit gentler—why don’t we just do it?

Hugh was a great tax lawyer. He represented General Motors on its most difficult tax matters. He represented Westinghouse in what at the time was the largest proposed adjustment in IRS history. He represented Pfizer in the section 482/936 controversy, making a presentation to the Pfizer board that retained the work for Jones Day. Hugh always seemed to become chair or president of whatever institution he was serving, despite never seeking these positions. This was true in the tax world, too. He became chair of the ABA Tax Section after engaging in a debate from the floor about some then important tax issue. He had not much participated in the Tax Section before then, but after the debate he was asked by the powers that be to be its next chair.

Hugh was also very active outside the office. In 1959-60 he took a leave of absence to serve as Bill Bundy’s deputy on President Eisenhower’s Commission on National Goals. It was there that Hugh developed an enduring devotion to secondary education, particularly in our big cities. As a matter of community and politics, he was a classic liberal. In testifying at a Senate hearing on inner schools he once got into an exchange with Robert Kennedy, then Senator from New York. “Why should we pour money into these schools when there’s no proof it will fix them,” asked Kennedy. “Because we’ve shortchanged these kids in every way, including money, so we ought at least to start with that,” replied Hugh.

While a partner at Jones Day, Hugh served on the Cleveland School Board. His first election was one of the most contentious anyone can remember, and after he won he moved his family from Shaker Heights and enrolled them in the Cleveland public schools. Even after retiring, Hugh stayed devoted to Cleveland’s schools, teaching math to middle schoolers. When the school district discovered he didn’t have a teacher’s certificate, he enrolled at Cleveland State to take the required education courses. And he became a substitute teacher in the meantime. Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, his daughter now teaches in the D.C. public school system.

Hugh also served Harvard, eventually becoming senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, Harvard’s governing body. He was appointed to the Corporation in 1968, in his early 40′s. He was by far its youngest member. These were strange times at many schools, with protests about Vietnam, ROTC on campus, minority admissions, and many other issues. In the spring of 1969, Harvard students went on strike, with a number of them occupying Massachusetts Hall, the Harvard administration building. Hugh reviewed the ineffectual performance of Harvard in the first week of the strike, decided something needed to be done, and decided that he should be the one to do it. The Harvard Crimson published a two-part article describing Hugh’s actions, entitled “Who is this man Hugh Calkins?” Edited slightly, the Crimson said:

One of the more interesting phenomena of the last month has been the sudden rise of Hugh Calkins. A month ago, few Harvard undergraduates had ever seen Calkins. In a month of crisis at Harvard, Calkins has been hard to miss. Taking up the gap left by President Pusey’s artless performance in the first few days of the strike, Calkins has turned himself into a one-man public-relations agency for the Harvard administration. In the first week of the strike, Calkins talked about dissent and ROTC and all the other issues for two straight nights on television. He ate breakfast with students in the Houses. With disturbing energy and bounce, Calkins spoke in dining halls and appeared with SDS members on panel discussions. Has Calkins come here to win friends? To save the college? To make political capital in his home town of Cleveland? Is he, as some radicals have suggested, an Administration superman, the only fellow shrewd enough to put up a good front in debates? Or is he, as all his statements certainly imply, a true liberal who is sincerely doing his best to reason with the students? Who is this man Hugh Calkins?

The answer to that question is easier than the Crimson thought. Hugh was our mentor, our partner, and our friend. He was a leader in Cleveland. He tried always to do good. He was the epitome of Jones Day.

Raymond J. Wiacek
Practice Leader, Tax

17 thoughts on “Share Your Memories

  1. Anonymous

    One could do something more flowery for you off-spring and your mother, but one of your Dad’s Exeter classmates sent me the Exeter notice and I replied to him with the enclosed e-mail. It is a simple, heartfelt tribute to one of the best men of his generation.

    Thanks Joe. Incredibly sad. Hugh had one of the really great brains I’ve encountered on this long trip. He, Ann, Liz and I were in a play-reading group in Cleveland 50 years ago with a most interesting bunch of people, present company excepted. And as you know, not only was he mixed up with your university as an overseer, but he worked outside the box on all kinds of things in Cleveland seeking to improve the overall environment.

    Great loss!
    John

    Our love to your mom and best wishes with condolences to you.

    Liz and John Bacon

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  2. tom cook

    My Uncle Hugh came to check on me in Philadelphia in the 1980′s after my father died. I was disgusted with the legal business and thinking of chucking it to do something else entirely. His advice was memorable: “build on what you know”. He ordered beer and drank exactly half of his. After an hour, he rose to go. It was raining outside and of course it was unthinkable that he would order a cab to ride the five blocks to his hotel. Reaching into his grey suit jacket pocket ( no doubt from Filene’s Bargain Basement) he drew forth a wad of dry cleaning plastic. It had been fashioned into a sort of poncho with staples. Donning this garment, he strode into the gloomy rain, plastic flapping, remarking: ” I never travel anywhere without it”!

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  3. Perry White

    Perry August 11, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I first met Hugh in 1998 soon after the first 2 people I told I was starting a charter school in Cleveland exclaimed, “You have to get Hugh Calkins on your Board.” It was to our future students’ good fortune that we did so. Hugh led the Board passionately and effectively, including during our daunting years. A favorite memory is from a meeting where several of us were considering renovation plans. As he strode into the room, Hugh was emphatic, “We must put a bathroom in every classroom. I calculated that this will save a minimum of 17 instructional minutes for each student daily.” Of course, Hugh was right. It saved a great deal of precious time and it did contribute to our students’ subsequent achievement. Hugh had such passion for doing right by Cleveland’s children. Hugh studied, fought and taught, inveighed and sometimes he and our doing good prevailed. In my mind Hugh epitomized what citizenship should look like. Hugh was as zealous as he was brilliant in his service to the larger good. I am grateful for having known this special man. My condolences to Hugh’s family and friends.

    With affection and admiration,
    Perry

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  4. Boo Dixon

    Anonymous August 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    The tribute to your father on this website is beautiful. An extraordinary man, whose legacy is huge and varied.

    Among my memories of Hugh are many sails with Capt. Mo (it seems to me he was contemplating the decline of the Roman Empire as I was on my 3rd beer), and his legendary limericks on special occasions — always so clever and uplifting, and a huge compliment to the recipient. Also New Year’s Eve celebrations with Uncle Raymond stories by the fire.

    He will be missed. My deepest sympathies to Ann, Peter, Andy, Liz, and Maggie.

    With love,
    Boo

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  5. Sesie Kunz

    Anonymous August 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Dear Calkins Family,
    I am sorry to hear of the passing of your father/husband. I am reminded of him and his love of sailing. Sesie Kunz

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  6. Peggy

    While much has been said about the prodigious achievements of Hugh, I’ve been thinking about those other little things, the quirks and personality traits that round out a human being. As his daughter-in-law I was certainly aware of his many gifts of intellect and relentless pursuit of knowledge, and that he was deeply engaged in solving the problems of the world. But it was those quirky little aspects of his nature that settle in my memories of him, those things that revealed the joy and pleasure he took in the life he had and especially in his family.

    Hugh didn’t have much patience for the trivialities of daily life. For example, he never went in stores. He hated them. Which was ok, since Ann was happy to do the shopping. Yet somehow (and this was even pre-internet shopping) every Christmas Hugh managed to find a present for each one of us that showed real thought about our own particular interests.

    Hugh didn’t get involved in decorating decisions either, although he had two requirements: no sheer curtains (they look like underwear) and none of that yellow brick they use in Ohio around fireplaces (he was from New England, after all).

    He also didn’t engage in small talk. I remember coming down late to breakfast, the entire family trying to quietly eat their pancakes while Hugh expounded on some topic or other, probably the status of the global economy or the intricacies of some tax law. And that was just the start of the day.

    At the same time, Hugh was always genuinely interested in the trials and pursuits of each of his children and grandchildren, and wanted to know what made each one of us tick. He would arrive in Pentwater for his “vacation” with a stack of unread New York Times and some very heavy books that was as tall as a skyscraper. Yet one summer I remember his reading “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” because he wanted to understand what was so absorbing to his teenage granddaughters.

    Many of my memories are of Hugh in Pentwater, probably because that was the place I spent the most time with him. It was the same for my children. The other day my daughter Bonnie asked us if we remembered what Hugh always ordered at the DQ. This was a trick question; the rest of us all ordered from the DQ but Hugh went around the corner to Rinaldi’s because their mint chocolate chip ice cream was green, not white like the DQ’s. Which is odd, since Hugh was color blind.

    In Pentwater, Hugh was able to step away from the variety of real-world problems that so engaged him the rest of the year and thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of a small town. He never missed a band concert, and I believe had dreams of playing his baritone horn with the band one day. He went for long walks on the beach with the dogs, and took his grandchildren sailing and fishing and blueberry picking. I don’t know what things he said to them on those outings, or whether they thought his conversation was well beyond their years. But I do know that he was an example to them of a person who was completely true to his own character, and completely devoted to his own family. He would always always be there for them.

    When I think of how I would like to remember Hugh it is as this unique, quirky, New England Yankee/midwestern hybrid. He was in equal parts deep into his own mind, and into the hearts of his family. I will picture him as I saw his truest self: on the open water, on the windsurfer flying solo, or with the family pack flying down the ski slopes, always singing for some unexplained reason (to me anyway) “Dites moi, pourquoi, la vie est belle….” Actually, I get it now! “La vie est belle!!!!”

    Peggy

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  7. Caroline

    Yes, yes and yes. Many of my favorite memories fall into this same category: the little moments where Chu’s love of simple pleasures suddenly appeared. His love of sailing and his dedication to helping his granddaughters learn how to command the Sunfish. His willingness to drop everything and take a basket of tennis balls out to the court. His long walks with Hallie in the mornings at Pentwater. Though I can’t quite conjure up the image, I’m sure he ran down Old Baldy with us. And he was with us on the magical dusky night in Pentwater when we saw a pirate ship, covered in lights, glide into the harbor. We watched it, wondered at it, and walked home along the surf, singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. As his granddaughter, these are the moments that have stuck with me. Chu had a brilliant mind and also a true heart, and I will always be inspired by his memory.

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  8. Stephen Calkins

    I doubt I’ll be able to make it from Ireland to what should be a great event, but I’ll be thinking of it and him. My Uncle Hugh certainly played an important role in my life. Who knows why we decide to do things? But I do remember with clarity his talking to me in my basement room in Hamburg, where I was a high school senior deciding what college to attend. Hugh said good things about Harvard, of course, but said that the extraordinary Kingman Brewster was doing great things at Yale which might be a better place for me to get an undergraduate education. So I went to Yale with confidence. Later, he wrote out one of his detailed lists of all the non-coastal cities – with pithy editorial comment on each (Houston had lots of opportunities but oil executives) – that I might consider if I wanted to follow his idea of moving to some heartland location. And of course I went to Yale and to Detroit and am delighted with both decisions. And almost entirely because of his encouragement I applied for membership in the ALI, and while I have never played a major role in that great organization I have made a few small contributions and am very pleased that I took that step, too.

    So he was quite a special uncle, wholly apart from his fathering some wonderful cousins!

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  9. lzwhz Post author

    Building on Caroline’s post– Do you remember the summer when you asked “Why is the sky blue?” I remember you and Andy and Dad talking about this over lunch in town, all the way home, on the beach that afternoon- and I think we got out the 1911 Encyclopedia (one of his favorite dinner-time activities- about the only book allowed at the dinner table) to look up potential answers. He had a thirst for knowledge and understanding that was never quenched!

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  10. lzwhz Post author

    Dear Ann,
    I offer my sympathy for your loss. I am sure you are also reflecting on the special life you and he shared for those many years. I know what a special person Hugh was. He was the most brilliant and selfless person with whom I have ever worked. I admired his persistence and focus. That was clear from the beginning of my association with him – since the day he picked up me and Katie at Terminal Tower in his VW Bug for the Jones Day 1972 Winter Prom. He was so hospitable that weekend and disciplined – e.g., hot tea in front of your fireplace before the Prom, and, while at the Prom, dictating a memo on his tape recorder in the coat closet! And then the next morning, after a heavy overnight snowfall, he and I strapped on some snowshoes to deliver a time sensitive document.
    Hugh was totally tireless. That weekend was quite an introduction to the amazing person of Hugh Calkins. It grew from there into a close relationship as friends and partners. Many years thereafter when he decided to retire, he told me he wanted me to succeed him as head of the Firm’s Tax Group. I was overwhelmed. What an honor to receive the baton from such a brilliant, tireless, and thoughtful leader.
    I was glad he and I could share those wonderful memories when I visited him at home about two years ago. I told him then what I never told him or anyone else before – how thankful I was to have had the opportunity to work with such a unique person and how he became my model of hard work and integrity. There will never be another one like him.
    He may be gone from this earth but he will always be part of my soul.
    Jim O’Hara, Washington DC

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  11. Hugh Calkins

    Dear Aunt Ann, Peter, Andy, Maggie, and Liz,
    It came as a shock to learn of Uncle Hugh’s passing. Although he was unwell when I visited
    during a trip to Cleveland a year or so ago, it still left me with a sense of emptiness. I am looking
    forward to attending his memorial service, and celebrating his life. But I also feel compelled to write you
    now and explain to you what it has meant for me to be fortunate enough to carry the name “Hugh
    Calkins”.
    Uncle Hugh was extremely highly regarded by myself and my siblings. We all recognized that
    he was extremely accomplished, extremely bright, a wonderful family man, and a world class highly
    ethical lawyer and educator. And this does not mention his enormous role leading Harvard forward.
    We all relished interacting with Uncle Hugh at all types of family gatherings – Rockywold, Buffalo
    Ski Weekends over New Year ’s Eve, family weddings, milestone
    birthdays (like the one 5 years ago at Barking Waters), and the fortunately very rare memorial services .
    He was charming, creative, focused, and fun. And he gave the very best toasts. Although my first
    marriage did not go the distance, the toast he gave was sensational and much appreciated. From what I can recall,
    he made a big effort to attend each of these many family gatherings. His attendance was always noticed
    and appreciated.
    It has been a terrific experience and a great honor for me to be named after (although perhaps
    accidentally) Uncle Hugh. Whether this name helped catch the attention of the admissions committee at Harvard Medical School
    I will never know. But if it did assist in giving a second read to my application, I am grateful. During my life I have been asked on literally hundreds of
    occasions if Uncle Hugh is my father. Each of these individuals – whether patients, colleagues, or friends
    – would refer to Uncle Hugh with the highest regard. On each occasion I quickly explained that Uncle
    Hugh was not my father – but my Uncle. And at the same time I would be reminded once again of my
    great fortune to carry his name.

    While I was in Michigan last week I took time to read Uncle Hugh’s log. I read every page with
    great interest. And with each page I realized that Uncle Hugh had accomplished far more in his life
    than I every imagined. I guess I should not have been surprised by this as he was not one to toot his
    own horn – unless of course it was his Baritone. I particularly enjoyed the story of him working on his
    writing on a sunfish so as not to be accused of working all the time – even on vacation. I now know how
    I came by my tendency to be a workaholic. His life was far too short. And he was saddled with far
    more than his share of medical hurdles. But despite this he has had a wonderful positive impact on
    the world we live and more specifically on my life and career.
    Please know that you are all in my prayers at this difficult time. It will be terrific to see you soon
    in Cleveland.
    Sincerely yours

    Hugh Calkins
    Baltimore MD

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  12. David E. Fisher

    Deepest condolences on the loss of an extraordinary person.
    That his legacy lives on and flourishes unstoppably, is magnificently reflected in the words of this page.
    The Calkins’ are a true gift to us all.

    David Fisher
    Newton, MA

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  13. lzwhz Post author

    To the Hugh Calkins Family

    I have just learned of the great loss of a truly outstanding citizen. A citizen of Cleveland, Harvard, legal opinions, and especially his lifetime interest and active role in improving public education. He was a vesuvious of new ideas, a fighter for action, and too busy for accolades or rewards.. No challenge was too great. He fought to have his ideas implemented. Lucky for me that he brought me to his city and started my educational career for which I owe him my life.

    Robert Binswanger
    Dartmouth College

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  14. Tim Calkins

    Dear Aunt Ann, Peter, Andy, Maggie, and Liz,

    I was very sorry to hear of Hugh’s passing.

    For much of my life I didn’t really know Uncle Hugh. I would of course see him at family gatherings, but I was the youngest of our big family and didn’t have the chance to interact with him very much.

    This all changed when I joined him on the team working with the Boston banks. For many years I attended meetings with him and he taught me an enormous amount about investing and finance. He would arrive to each meeting just on time and quickly get down to business. He would usually bring in an academic article on a topic, perhaps portfolio turn-over and its impact on capital gains, and then ask the bank representatives to comment on how we should use the article’s conclusions to better manage our account. They struggled to keep up with him.

    I was lucky to have the chance to work with him and learn from him.

    Tim

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  15. Anonymous

    Dear Ann and the entire Calkins family. You already know that we Silvers loved him..There was no way to resist his unique combination of brain, heart, and spirit–and modesty, no need to take up all the oxygen in a room, no need to make the loudest noise Our shared Christmas Eves, complete with one of Uncle Raymond’s stories, were highlights in our year. And in our CLODS group, only Hugh chose a topic he knew nothing about in order to learn, to keep learning every single day. We will always remember him with admiration and love, Adele and Jonathan, Michael and Sarah.

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