A tribute from Gregg Harris
Chris Klicka and Gregg Harris.
Many years ago I remember speaking with my dear brother Chris Klicka about Job 29:7–17. In this passage, Job is describing for his friends what it was like before his calamity struck. It reads in part:
When I went out to the gate of the city, when I prepared my seat in the square, the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose and stood; the princes refrained from talking and laid their hand on their mouth; the voice of the nobles was hushed
because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy
. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
I recall now through tears that Chris said with great passion, “I want to be like that! I want to be like Job.” Then he said, “And when I die, I want to be there when it happens. There are things you can say on your deathbed that you just can’t say any other time in your life.”
As I sit here at the home where Chris Klicka lies dying, I can honestly report that God has answered both his prayers. I know of no one else who is more like Job than this man. He stands head and shoulders above the rest of us in zeal as well as competence. And as this strong man lies here waiting to go home to be with his Lord, he still fights, but not to stay alive. He fights “to be here when he dies,” to speak as he intended, with all the might that he has left, to each family member and friend. The fountain of living water in his soul flows the strongest as he whispers and nods.
We have lived all these years with a spiritual giant whose amazing gifts were held for 15 years in a battered earthen vessel—a tattered tent. But not for much longer. He goes into eternity to meet his Savior with a shout of joy. We rejoice at his liberation from such a frustrating physical body. A new, glorified body awaits him at the resurrection. But we will soon be left to answer the question, “Who will God raise up next to fill such shoes? Who will play his amazing role in the next generation? May God give us a thousand like him! And may we yield ourselves to God to stand among them.”
Noble Institute for Leadership Development /
Household of Faith Community Church
A tribute from Wayne Tully
My Brother and My Friend
It was at the Florida Parent-Educators Association Convention in 1998 that I was introduced to homeschooling father and attorney Christopher J. Klicka.
Courtesy of Wayne Tully
Imagine homeschooling families having their own team of attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of parents to teach their children math, reading, and writing from home without the help or interference of the government school system! I tried to use the homeschooling idea back in 1970 when I was in the 10th grade (Simi Valley, California), but they sent me to juvenile hall for a few days to give me time to reconsider my stay-home rights.
Chris led me to understand his work and its purpose, which gave me the foundation I needed to understand why it’s important for moms and dads to stay involved in the education and training of their children. Today, as I defend parent-taught driver education and training laws across the states, I know I am doing the right thing. I know we are keeping kids alive and safer than ever before. Because of homeschoolers’ involvement, parent participation is now a requirement in 48 states.
On Monday evening, October 5, I visited with Chris. I was able to talk with him and enjoy his witty humor for several hours. Even while facing death, his quick thinking and sharp responses were intact. Praying with Chris, holding his arm, and watching a few tears fall from his eyes told me this man was very alive inside this very broken body.
Christian leadership, brotherly leadership, fatherly leadership, and husbandly leadership all showed up for duty through this one man. When I grow up, I want to be like my brother, Christopher J. Klicka.
Thank you, Chris, for being my friend.
National Driver Training Institute
Notable tributes and awards
On behalf of the Office of Non-Public Education, I want to express our sympathy to HSLDA in the loss of your colleague Chris Klicka. Our work with Chris over the years was positive and collaborative, and we will miss his camaraderie and contributions to the homeschool cause and efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at HSLDA and the Klicka family during this time of great sadness.
Maureen Dowling, EdD
Office of Non-Public Education
Office of Innovation and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
Courtesy of AMHE/Lael Weinberger
On June 29, 2007, Vision Forum awarded Chris Klicka the Captain John Smith Quadricenntennial Award for his “indefatigable and perservering leadership on a defining issue of our generation;
stalwart faith through hardship;
selfless sacrifice on behalf of home schoolers;
and courageous spirit amidst adversity.”
I was very sad to learn of the death of Chris Klicka. During my years at the U.S. Department of Education, I called him on many occasions to seek his expertise on state homeschool laws, and also on homeschool matters at the federal and international levels. I and my staff in the Office of Non-Public Education used his reports on state laws as valuable reference resources. I appreciated his deep knowledge of the law and his commitment to defending the rights of parents.
After knowing him by phone and reputation for many years, I was delighted to finally meet him in person several years ago, at an HSLDA dinner in Washington. I was impressed by his big smile, his energy, his grit, and his faith in God.
The rapid rise of homeschooling is an enormously important movement in America and abroad. Chris’s work in making homeschooling legal in all 50 states is a great contribution not only to homeschool families, but to all Americans and indeed to our civil society. He leaves behind a legacy that will benefit generations to come. It was a privilege to know him.
Jack Klenk, former director
Office of Non-Public Education
U.S. Department of Education
Chris Klicka was a passionate man of faith and trailblazing advocate for homeschoolers and homeschooling issues. Through his dedication and great work at the Home School Legal Defense Association, Chris helped protect families and their freedom to choose homeschooling as an education method. Generations for years to come will benefit from the many doors opened by Chris.
Vicki and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Klicka family during this time.
U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt
A young, dark-haired student, Chris Klicka, sat in my U.S. Constitutional History class at Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania around 1980. He was an excellent student with a particularly keen interest in questions about religious liberty and how that liberty might be protected. What I did not know at the time was that he would become the untiring legal defender of fathers and mothers across this nation, many of them Christians, who wanted to school their children at home. His death is an immeasurable loss to that alternative schooling movement which has grown wider and deeper than he ever expected
On January 26, 2005, Calvert School honored Chris with its 2004 Homeschooling’s Best Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Today, the acceptance of homeschooling is well established nationwide. That is a tribute to the personal courage and legal acumen of that dark-haired constitutional student—Chris Klicka—who saw an injustice and sought, by the grace of God, to right it.
All this, I add, he accomplished while fighting an individual battle with multiple sclerosis. In these last years, that disease sapped his physical strength and challenged his endurance. Nevertheless, his indomitable spirit, which was clearly Christ working through him, made him a warrior for freedom to the end. His gentle demeanor, disarming smile, and courageous heart were combined in a winsome way with his unyielding stance for scriptural principles. He died with the gratifying knowledge that parents across the land could instruct their children without fearing the heavy hand of state intervention. Now he rests peacefully in the bosom of the Lord he served so well.
Dr. John A. Sparks
Dean of the Calderwood
School of Arts & Letters
Grove City College
Editor’s note: Excerpted with permission
from “Chris Klicka: Warrior for Educational
and Religious Freedom” by Dr. John A. Sparks
at the Grove City College Center for Vision
& Values, http://www.visandvals.org/Tribute_to_Christopher_Klicka.php.