Born in Newton, MA in 1924; died at his home in Cleveland Heights, OH on August 4, 2014. Hugh Calkins was the youngest of six children of Grosvenor and Patricia Calkins. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law School, having had his college career interrupted by service in the Air Force in World War II. He was President of the Harvard Law Review and subsequently clerked for Justice Learned Hand of the New York Circuit Court and Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Calkins chose to spend his professional career in Cleveland, OH, joining the firm known today as Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and ultimately rising to senior partner and head of the tax division of the firm, which by the time of his retirement was among the nation’s largest. Calkins was active in national legal circles over the course of his entire career, most notably with the American Law Institute (ALI) and American Bar Association (ABA), along with a stint as Deputy Director of President Eisenhower’s Commission on National Goals. Following his work on the Goals Commission, Calkins returned to Cleveland and founded Plan for Action by Citizens for Education (PACE). That experience helped to spur a lifelong involvement in education, at both the postsecondary and K-12 levels. Calkins served as a member of the Harvard Corporation, that university’s governing body, for 16 years, and was later awarded an Honorary Degree from Harvard for his many years of devoted service. (See this link for the Harvard University Gazette news story on his service to Harvard; and this article that Jim Fallows has written for The Atlantic website on Dad’s role at Harvard during the turmoil of the late 1960s.) Calkins also served as an elected member of the Cleveland Board of Education for four years in the 1960s – a commitment that necessitated moving his family from the eastern suburbs into Cleveland proper, where several of his children attended Cleveland public schools. During that time, Calkins developed some national recognition for his principled outspokenness on issues such as the Vietnam War, taking stances that placed him on President Nixon’s notorious “Enemies List” – a distinction he was not unhappy to earn.
Following his retirement from Jones, Day, he devoted what he called his “second career” to public education, beginning by studying teaching practice at John Carroll University and earning a certificate to teach in Ohio public schools. After teaching for several years in inner-city Cleveland schools – an experience he believed was crucial for anyone seeking to improve public education – Calkins devoted himself full-time to managing Initiatives in Urban Education (IUE), a foundation organized for him by his children and devoted to helping to improve student achievement outcomes in Cleveland public schools. In that role, among other accomplishments, Calkins was instrumental in helping to found Citizens Academy, a charter school located near University Circle that has since become recognized as one of the state’s highest-achieving charter schools. The school named its library after Calkins in recognition of his role in opening its doors.
Calkins is survived by the loves of his life: his wife of 61 years, Ann Clark Calkins whom he met on a blind date at a Cleveland Orchestra concert in the early 1950s, and by his four children: Peter, Andy, Maggie, and Liz, with their respective spouses (Susan, Peggy, Lit and Steve); by seven grandchildren – Miriam, Caroline, Audrey, Bonnie, Walker, Liza, and Max; and step-grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren including Hannah, Roger, Ashley, Kirk (Karen), Sarah, Ella, Leigh Ann and Evelyn. A memorial service will be held on Saturday September 13th at 4:00 pm, at the First Unitarian Church at 21600 Shaker Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH, with reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Breakthrough Schools (a consortium of charter schools that includes Citizens Academy), at Friends of Breakthrough Schools, 3615 Superior Avenue, Suite 3103A, Cleveland, OH 44114, or at http://www.breakthroughschools.org/.