Kern Cleven

Kern William Cleven

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Kern William Cleven passed away in Seattle, Washington on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at the age of 65. Kern was the son of the late Walter A. Cleven originally from Chicago, IL (d. 2012) and the late State Representative Carol C. Cleven, originally from Hanover, IL (d. 2015).

Kern was born in Champaign, IL, where his parents met, married, and lived following their graduation from the University of Illinois. Kern and his family moved to Chelmsford in 1959 when Kern was 4 years old. Kern went through the Chelmsford public schools, graduating from Chelmsford High School in 1973. Kern was on the CHS football and wrestling teams and followed those teams throughout his life. Kern attended University of Wisconsin - Madison where he earned his B.A. in Philosophy in 1977. Kern then returned to Massachusetts and eventually enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in a Ph.D. program in philosophy. Before completing that doctorate, Kern left for New York City, where he worked as a paralegal and fell in love with the law. He subsequently attended the University of Washington Law School in Seattle and earned his J.D. in 1983. Following graduation, Kern practiced criminal law in Seattle. Kern returned to Massachusetts where he practiced law briefly, but ultimately returned to Seattle where he continued to practice. Kern was an avid reader, music lover, sports fan, political junkie, friend and all-around good guy.

Kern is survived by his younger brother Jeffrey, his sister-in-law Mary, and their son Stone of Chelmsford, as well as many other extended family members and friends who will miss him greatly.

Kern will be interred alongside his parents in West Chelmsford Cemetery in Chelmsford. Due to the pandemic, services are being handled privately by the family.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Kern’s name to The Seattle Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 3951, Seattle, WA 98124 or the ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004.
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Robi Blute

Posted at 01:01am
A great person and I am saddened to hear of his passing. Jeff and family I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I have a special place in my heart for you all as my husband served in the state house with your wonderful mom and my dad worked with Walter at Mitre. Love you all. Robi Crudale Blute


Matt Fick

Posted at 01:27pm
I was very sorry to hear of Kern's passing. Kern and I were classmates in the UW Law School's Class of 1983. I very much agree with the thought in his obituary that he was an all-around good guy. We had not stayed in contact after law school, but in 2013, when my sister passed away, he sent me a very nice note and I was touched by that. As he said to me in that note, I am sorry for your loss, and I send my condolences to your whole family.
-Matt Fick, Bainbridge Island, WA


Posted at 09:59am
Sad to learn of Kern's passing. Our parents were friends and colleagues. Our family's did a number of recreational activities together, back in the mid and late 60's. Have good memories of those childhood events with Kern, Jeff, and their parents. My condolences go out to Jeff and his family, as well as Kern's extended family and friends. Kevin Duffy

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