Homage to a Blundering Blogger

Sadly, the Blundering Bloggers membership is down by one-third, after the loss of our education issues blogger, Richard W. (Dick) Clark, who died last Friday. I knew Dick originally as a Deputy Superintendent of a school system, obviously someone many rungs higher on the ladder than I and an expert in the field who had no qualms about expressing strong opinions, but also one with whom I developed a comfortable working relationship.

Years later I retired and re-connected with him and travel blogger Jackie Smith. They  were already meeting regularly and had named themselves the Blundering Bloggers. I felt honored to be welcomed into the group.  It should be clear from the name that none of us felt we were experts and we spent many hours warming seats at Starbucks in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond and asking each other for technical assistance as well as for ideas for topics to write about.

Dick lived and breathed education long after he retired from the public school system.  He wanted his blogs to cause readers to think, to question their assumptions and challenge the pat and often ill-informed solutions to education’s challenges coming from politicians, conservative commentators and many other groups these days. When Dick complained that despite his high number of site visitors he received few comments, Jackie and I urged him to throw in more personal opinions, talk about his own experiences as an educational administrator, and challenge his readers to action.  But that’s not who he was.  He was looking for a give and take, an informed exchange of ideas based on research and experience, not pressing people’s hot buttons.

Dick was a scholar, which made me appreciate him all the more when he was willing to accept the occasional bizarre challenges we threw at him. “Let’s all write about spam” was the most recent one.  Jackie and I addressed Spam, the food product, while he described  the shallow answers people often give when talking about reforming the educational system as spam.

Despite his declining health, Dick told us that he both wanted and needed to keep the conversation going about how to improve education. It was his calling and he was posting blogs till the end.

We had a good thing going, the three of us. We could inspire each other, write encouraging comments on each other’s postings, test out ideas for improving our blogs and readership, and ask questions and present ideas in a safe environment, all qualities of a strong support group, which, after all, was the reason the Blundering Bloggers came into existence.

If ever the Blundering Bloggers add a new member, it won’t happen soon or without a lot of thought.  We can never replace Dick and knowing this leaves a bigger hole than the one in our conversations about what to write about next week.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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9 Responses to Homage to a Blundering Blogger

  1. Ronna says:

    I’m so sorry to hear it. Rest in peace, Dick.

  2. Sharon says:

    Dick was one of a kind. Thank you for the nice tribute to him

  3. Jackie Smith says:

    You captured it all. There are – again – tears streaming down my face.

  4. JanO says:

    Ann…Your lovely message said so much about Dick’s influence. During my first interactions with him long ago (BSD PTSA Council/Levy Committee) I was rather intimidated by his intellect…and quite honestly, his demeanor. Fortunately, shortly thereafter, his humor surfaced and my reticence subsided! Then, I began to appreciate his humanity and all that I could learn from him.

  5. That’s a beautiful tribute, Ann. I’m so sorry to hear about Dick’s passing.

  6. Sylvia Soholt says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you and Jackie have lost your blogging partner, and the rest of the world his perspective. There’s nothing blundering about this tribute.

  7. Donna Tonella says:

    Ann, what a lovely tribute to Dick. We’ve truly lost a wonderful man.

  8. Claudia Randle says:

    Ann, thanks for the note about Dick. He was an intimidating figure when I first met him working at ESC but came to admire him as I moved through the ranks in HR. Thanks for the great tribute.

  9. Jim Hoff says:

    Thank you to all who have replied regarding Dick Clark. I worked with Dick for 22 years in the Bellevue schools. He was my immediate supervisor for many of those years. Dick and I faced many changes and challenges in our times of work. I always said he had a mind like a steel trap, and one needed to be careful how you approached him in debating an issue, and you needed to be prepared, and read if you wanted him to see your idea and use it. Dick and I had a great rapport and we often chose to debate and argue in private because many folks would get very concerned by our dual passion for our positions. He truly will be missed and I will always remember him as one of the giants in my career, and a man of intellect and integrity. I trust the great spirits of education are probing Dick for his good ideas as time moves on with the living.
    Jim Hoff Retired Principal BPS

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