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Willis Huling Flick

Willis Huling Flick

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September 01, 2015
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September 01, 2015
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February 13, 2013
Mr. Flick hired me to work at his amazing law firm in the early 1980s. I was just one of scores of young lawyers whom Willis gave a chance to grow which we otherwise would not have had. He changed for the better our lives.

After I left the firm, Willis and I became better friends, and we worshipped together for many years at Granada Presbyterian Church where his memorial service will be this Friday at 1 pm.

Willis and I had lunch together a number of times to talk about not just the past but about current events about which he was a very keen and insightful observer. He was a man of action and a man of ideas. It was such a blessing to be with him that I felt as though I was intruding on this special life by breaking bread with him. But he made me and others feels as if we were the only other person in the room. He listened because he had a generous heart.

Our last lunch as it turned out was Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, just a couple of weeks before his health started to decline. I began our conversation by asking, "Willis, where were you 71 years ago today?" He told me of his service in the Army at that time, and what is so typical of his, "the greatest generation," is that he spoke of his service not as a time of sacrifice but rather simply as his duty to country and others as merely "doing his bit." There was no pride in a selfish sense, just a congenial obligation to do what so many others were doing. He did what was expected of him, it was clear, without complaint.

Willis was an elegant Christian gentleman. Let me tell a story he told himself which conveys that. There was a man in this great law firm Willis managed who left the firm and then died of AIDS some time later. Willis told me he went to his funeral, getting guff from some that he would attend a funeral of someone who died of "THAT." Willis said to me, "Why would I not attend his funeral? He was a fine lawyer who served our firm and his clients well. How he died was a tragedy. Why would I not go?" Here was Willis acting out Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, whose lesson is that we are to love and show regard for everyone, regardless of, well, anything.

This is how he practiced law. This is how he managed this great law firm. This is how he interacted with others in the rough and tumble world and in our church. He was a man of strong, eternal convictions who was devoid of the self-righteousness that sometimes attaches to people who adhere to the straight and narrow. He was a man's man who knew how to treat a lady, the quintessential one of which was his beloved Jimmie.

Jimmie and Willis provide a special attraction to Heaven, where both reside as His humblest of servants.

Finally, some of you undoubtedly saw the brilliant advertisement in the most recent Super Bowl which consisted of farm pictures put to the stirring words of another American original, Paul Harvey. It is called "So God Made a Farmer." It is the greatest commercial I have ever seen. Others say the same.

I can imagine another such commercial, which Willis would never allow to air if he could stop it, which would go something like this: And on the ninth day, God saw that disputes arose within His creation, between and among men and women--arguments that needed to be resolved for the good of everyone. So God created a lawyer to serve as the mediator of these disputes, which were then addressed without rancor and in the context of respect for both sides.

And God saw that there were so many disputes arising within his Creation that there was need of a collection of lawyers to address their arising.

So God made a lawyer to oversee all these lawyers in a thing called a firm. He needed a fair man to run this firm who would run it in such a way that its members had respect not only for their clients but for one another within the firm. All outside that firm would think of at least its lawyers as ethical, kind, and true.

So God made a lawyer, and his name was Willis Flick.
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