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Home > Homeschooling Giant Dies at 48

Homeschooling Giant Dies at 48

October 20th, 2009

By Jonathan Carden

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

Chris Klicka, long-time homeschool champion, devoted husband and father

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel and Director of State and International Relations Christopher J. Klicka passed away on Monday the 12th of October after a 15-year battle with multiple sclerosis (MS). He was 48 years old.

MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. It causes the body’s own immune system to attack and damage the communicative nerve cells. The name Multiple Sclerosis refers to scars in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord, where the damaged nerve cells are found. Although the medical community has extensive information about the mechanisms involved in the disease’s progress, no definitive cause has been discovered, and there is no cure.

Throughout his fight with MS, Mr. Klicka refused to allow his disease to define or deter him in his tireless defense of a family’s right to homeschool their children.

Klicka was both people oriented and goal oriented. “He cared deeply about people, but he was also driven to always do more,” said HSLDA President J. Michael Smith in a statement released Thursday. “He was the most determined person I ever met in my life.”

Mr. Klicka was known for his willingness to sacrifice his own comfort for a greater cause: homeschooling. He traveled constantly to speak at conferences and advocate the homeschooling method of education; not an easy task for a man confined to a wheelchair. He authored five books and had two more in progress when he passed away. This is all evidence of the selfless nature that allowed Mr. Klicka to have an enormous impact.

Few men have captured the hearts of homeschool families in America like Chris Klicka.
“His devotion to the cause of homeschool freedom was singular and tireless,” said Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries. “Chris Klicka personifies the indefatigable warrior for Christ who has fearlessly shed his own blood in one of the defining issues of this generation – the defense of the biblical family. I served with Chris for six years and consider it one of the great privileges afforded to me by God.”

A good sense of a humor and an easy-going conversational style were trademarks of Mr. Klicka. He opened his home to PHC students on many occasions and always had quick, funny things to say during conversations. Another trademark of Mr. Klicka was his family.

Spending any amount of time with the Klicka family immediately reveals how tight-knit they are. The unlimited dedication and loving-care his wife, Tracy, and his seven children (including former PHC student Bethany) gave to Mr. Klicka is alone an unbelievable testimony.

Despite being constrained by a disease that robbed him of his physical strength, Mr. Klicka’s impact was not diminished; it was enhanced. “Chris not only played a crucial role in the legal success of home education, he did so while enduring enormous physical challenges,” said the Executive Director of CHEA of California, Philip Troutt. “He accomplished this through an unshakable faith in a gracious providence. This example of steadfastness and hope in the face of adversity is, perhaps, his most significant and enduring contribution to the Christian home education movement.”

As Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister, once put it, “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”

PHC students strive for success in both the academic world now and the business world eventually. Their progress is measured by accomplishment and charted through comparative achievement. Against an emphasis on achievement, legacies like the one Mr. Klicka has left behind provide especially poignant reminders for what a life devoted to Christ looks like. His example as a father, a husband, a lawyer, an advocate, and most importantly a Christian, serves as an inspiration and demands the utmost respect.

“Chris’s accomplishments as a lawyer for homeschooling are clear and of value that cannot be overstated. He was one of the most important pioneers of our movement,” PHC Chancellor Mike Farris said. “He believed that this truly is God’s way to teach children to love God. He believed it deeply. His conviction was infectious. He was a man of single-hearted devotion that I have never, ever seen equaled. The passion that Chris felt for the mission to which God called him never, ever, ever, ever dimmed, even slightly.”

On the Klicka family’s blog, Mrs. Klicka posted a verse she says God gave her for encouragement two days before her husband’s death:

“No longer cloaked in frail humanity,
His spirit soars to gain Celestial joys,
Unimpeded by death’s dark night
And free from the weight of sin’s alloys.
My beloved sings! The object of his song
Is the One who bled and died for him,
No sweeter name did e’er he speak
Or treasure in his inner man.”

Read Tracy Klicka's online journal of events.