Harold Lee Rock
March 13, 1932 – November 4, 2018
Harold Lee Rock, age 86, died on Nov. 4, 2018, following a brief illness. Born on March 13, 1932, in Sioux City, Iowa. Preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Helen Rock. Survived by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn; six children: Mike (Renee Blankenau), Susan Amsden (Dave), John (Marjorie Fedyszyn), Patrick, Michele, and Tom (Melissa Raphan); 14 grandchildren; and his brothers, Richard and Tim. Harold left this world surrounded by his family in his home of 56 years.
VISITATION: Saturday, Nov. 17th beginning at 9:30am at St. John Catholic Church, 2500 California Plaza, Creighton University Campus, followed by FUNERAL MASS at 10:30am. A reception will follow at the Omaha Building, 1650 Farnam Street.
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.
Harold moved fourteen times by the time he was sixteen, including stints in Sioux City, Joliet, St. Paul, Hudson WI, Chicago, Milwaukee and Omaha. He attended Creighton Preparatory School, Hudson High, and finally Cretin High School from which he graduated in 1950. In high school he participated in every school play and musical, was elected to the Student Council, and made countless friends along the way. Songs and poetry were a lifelong passion for Harold, who delighted his family with spontaneous recitations appropriate to any occasion.
Harold was the first member of his family to attend college, enrolling at Creighton University in the ROTC program. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Creighton in 1954 and from Creighton Law School in 1959. He was a member of the United States Army Infantry between college and law school.
Harold and Marilyn began their rich life together with their marriage at St. Cecilia Cathedral on December 28, 1954. Upon graduation from law school, Harold spent a year as Law Clerk to Hon. Joseph W. Woodrough, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In 1960 he joined the Omaha firm of Fitzgerald, Hamer, Brown & Leahy where he established a business and bankruptcy practice.
In 1964, he left the Fitzgerald firm to start, in January of 1965, the firm of Kutak, Rock & Campbell. Luckily the firm had a chess board and a nice view from the Omaha National Bank Building, because those first months were very quiet. But the founding partners shared a vision of a new kind of law firm and over the years it grew into a national presence with specialties in municipal finance, complex litigation, and business law. The Kutak Rock firm, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, now numbers over 500 lawyers in offices throughout the United States.
Harold contributed substantial time and effort to the local and state Bar associations, serving in numerous roles over the years, including as President of both. Nationally, he served as a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association and on numerous committees of the ABA, including the Board of Governors. He also served on the boards of a variety of charitable organizations devoted to social and criminal justice, the arts, and education.
Harold retired from the active practice of law in the mid-1990s, though he maintained deep and strong ties to the law firm, thanks in large measure to the marvelous people (lawyers, secretaries, administrators – everybody) who are part of that institution.
Following his retirement from the firm, Harold and Marilyn worked just as hard enjoying their newfound freedom. Harold loved the outdoors, hiking, fishing, swimming and enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. They spent many long summer days at Alpine Lake in Montana and then at their lake home in Ottertail, Minnesota, where they routinely enjoyed their summers.
The Rock grandchildren loved their “Papa,” quickly learning that his gruff exterior disguised a truly tender heart. The twinkle in his eye shone especially bright when he was surrounded by his beloved grandchildren.