Harold Lee Rock 11/12/18 11/12/18 11:41:36 AM
Printer Friendly Version
|Harold Lee Rock‘There Will Never Be Another Harold’
March 13, 1932 – November 4, 2018
If ever a founder embodied the mission of his firm, it was Harold Rock. His talent, his character, his warmth and humor, and his genuine interest in every person associated
with the law firm of Kutak Rock that he started 53 years ago, served as the gold standard.
“He was the best ambassador for our firm. We cannot replace him in that role,” said Pat Brennan, proposal manager and a 38-year veteran of the firm. “We were stunned and saddened by the news of his death. He was a wonderful man who will be missed terribly.”
Rock died in Omaha after a short illness. Recently, he had split his time between Omaha and the family’s place in Minnesota.
“He’s the last link to the beginnings of our firm,” Brennan said.
Rock – who had been practicing for less than six years after his graduation from Creighton’s law school – and two of his friends, Bob Kutak and Bill Campbell, decided to start their own law firm in 1964.
By January of 1965 they had rented a small office on the sixth floor of the Omaha National Bank Building at 17th and Farnam, now known as The Omaha Building. The firm went on to own the building and completed a large-scale historic renovation a decade ago.
Brennan said he met Rock about two months after he started at the firm.
“I liked him immediately,” he said. “And my fondness for him has only grown over the years.”
He noted how Rock took an interest in all his employees. He possessed charm and a “wonderful wit” and unpretentiousness, he said.
The anniversary of the opening of the firm was always a special occasion.
“We all remember his ‘anniversary memos’ that ‘Father Rock’ sent out every January 11th, starting with the 25th anniversary,” Brennan said.
“The memos included sparkling displays of Mr. Rock’s wry take on the world and cemented his longstanding status as a much beloved and unifying force at Kutak Rock,” Brennan wrote in the firm’s tribute.
The firm wrote on its website: “Members of the firm have long observed that the [co-founders] partnership was a blending of complementary temperaments.
"While Bob Kutak was a restless visionary and Bill Campbell was a hard-charging litigator, both of whom constantly pushed to expand the firm, Harold Rock’s more affable style provided the necessary ballast to their approaches. Mr. Rock’s charm, humor and benevolent manner also lifted morale in a demanding work environment.
“Mr. Kutak died in 1983 at the age of 50, and Mr. Campbell left the firm in 1992, leaving Mr. Rock as the sole link to the firm’s earliest days. He also became the caretaker of the cultural values that the founders articulated
in their charter: a commitment to excellent service, mutual respect for all lawyers and staff, no discrimination in hiring and promotion, the enrichment of intellectual life within the firm, and support of projects that benefit society. Mr. Rock’s career embodied such cultural values.”
Kutak Rock is Nebraska’s largest law firm with 500 employees and offices in 18 cities.
Rock was a prominent figure in Omaha’s and the state’s legal community. He served as president of both the Omaha Bar Association and the Nebraska State Bar Association. He earned the OBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He served on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations as well, as wide-ranging as The United Way of the Midlands and the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival.
Jay Selanders, chair of Kutak Rock, offered this testimonial: “Harold not only helped establish the law firm but contributed greatly to its long-term reputation and success. We’ll especially remember his wit and style. There will never be another Harold.”
The firm concluded their remembrance: “A man of extraordinary talents and character, Harold Rock showed uncommon warmth and good humor to all he met. We were fortunate to have had him with us for many years.”
Rock is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn Clark Rock; their six children: Michael, Susan, John, Patrick, Michele and Thomas; and 14 grandchildren.
Services: VISITATION: Saturday, Nov. 17th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at St. John Catholic Church, 2500 California Plaza, Creighton University Campus, followed by FUNERAL MASS at 10:30 a.m.Memorials are suggested to the Harold Rock Scholarship Fund at Creighton Law School, the Legal Aid Society of Nebraska, St. John Catholic Church, or the Audubon Society of Omaha.
Visit https://heafeyheafey.com/harold-lee-rock/ for more on Harold Rock's life.
– By Lorraine Boyd