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.
On behalf of the Omaha Bar Association, we are so sorry for your loss. Mr. Rock was a giant of the legal community, and we mourn his passing.
To the entire Rock Family, but especially Mike Rock, my deepest sympathies. on the loss of your father. My prayers are with all of you during this grieving time.
My heartfelt condolences to Marilyn and all the family. Harold was one of my favorite people in the Omaha Bar. He was always a pleasure to work with and most importantly, just a joy to be around. I’ll forever remember his wit and his sweet nature. He had a knack for making everyone feel like they mattered to him. I’ll really miss him.
To the Rock Family, what fabulous memories if have of growing up on 51st street with the Rock Family. What fun Michelle and I had antagonizing Harold. He was always part of our plays and parades. His laugh is the best. I am so glad I got to have all of you in my life. I’m sure Harold is in heaven playing a little tennis and telling great stories about his family!!! love, jean marie
I met Harold in 2015 with his beautiful and amazing wife (Marilyn) and mother, of all the Rock children. His wit and joy for life was infectious (and he always had a twinkle in his eye,) so, I know why their children are wonderful people. What a great man. It was an honor to know him.
Dear Sue, your Dad certainly had an impressive and full life. My condolences to you, Dave, and your girls. Fondly in my thoughts and prayers, Barbara
I want to give my sincere condolences to the family of Harold Rock, especially to Marilyn his beautiful wife. I’ve known Harold since 1972 when he, Kutak and Campbell hired me as their first woman lawyer and voted me into the partnership in 1975. He and I always exchanged funny memos and notes and, after I left the firm 20 years later, we exchanged funny St. Patrick’s Day cards. I would see him and Marilyn several times a month as I walked my dog in Elmwood Park. They were always so friendly. I will miss him terribly 11
I worked at Mid City Bank a long time ago and Mr Rock was on the Board of Directors which would meet once a month. I did not know him well but he was very nice to me and always had a kind word or two. My sympathies.
Thank you Matt. My brother enjoyed life and people. I am glad you met him.
My deepest condolences to Mrs. Rock and to Harold’s children and grandchildren. I worked as a summer associate in 1986-87 and Harold was always so nice to us. He would occassionally swing by our offices in the middle of the day and say “Let’s go for milkshakes!” We’d all walk to a nearby diner where he’d buy and regail us with funny stories (I remember one about him sitting on a plane and having the woman next to him tell him that “Harold Rock was dead.” He thought that was pretty funny). He was always very kind to me and I’ll never forget that. He lived a great life and I consider myself privileged to have known him.
My sympathy to the Rock family. I did not have the honor of knowing Harold but was honored to work with Marilyn at OB-GYN Associates many years ago. June
My Condolences to the Rock family on Your loss. Was pleasantly surprised to see that he was a graduate of Cretin High School and a frequent visitor to Ottertail, MN!
Hi Dan, Thank you for your kind words. Yes, Cretin High and Ottertail were both very important places to dad and our family. I hope you are doing well. Sue