Clemens Allen Erdahl II
"I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky man who led a wonderful life, and for this I am grateful." -- Unknown
On Oct. 2, 2019, Clemens Allen Erdahl II passed away at home with his loving wife, Roxanne, by his side.
Clemens was born Nov. 15, 1947, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Mary Louise (Crozier) and Clemens Allen Erdahl Sr. While Clemens moved around a good deal, he called Scarsdale, N.Y., his childhood home, where he attended Scarsdale Senior High School and Taft Prep High School.
After his freshman year at Columbia University, Clemens decided to leave school to travel the world. During his early 20s, Clemens spent a number of years traveling, exploring and living in Latin America, Europe and North Africa. Upon returning to the states, Clemens decided to come to his parents' home state of Iowa, where he spent time on his uncle's farm and worked on his aunt's political campaign before continuing his studies at the University of Iowa, where he received a B.A. in general studies, a master's in urban planning, and a doctorate in law.
For more than 40 years, Clemens passionately defended the rights of people from Eastern Iowa, spending a tremendous amount of time in state and federal appeals court, and even being admitted to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States. Clemens was a founding partner in the law firm Nidey Erdahl Pilkington Meier & Aruguas, PLC, where he continued to practice until his passing.
In 2018, Clemens received the John Adams Award from the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which is presented to individuals who have spent their career devoted to the constitutional guarantee that, in criminal prosecutions, the accused is entitled to competent representation.
At his core, Clemens believed in the importance of fighting for the common person. He was a fierce advocate for social justice and carried this into every facet of his life. Early on in his legal career, Clemens worked as an organizer on the Ralston Creek Project in Johnson County, fought against housing discrimination alongside his mentor John Salter Jr., and served two terms on the Iowa City Council from 1978 to 1985.
As powerful as Clemens' passion was for social justice, his first love always was his family. On June 13, 1992, Clemens and Roxanne joined their two families, and for the next 27 years they shared a love of family, music, politics and travel. Clemens loved being a father to their four children: Lillian Erdahl (Luis Garcia), Colbin Erdahl (Jen Erdahl), Chase Haldeman and Cory Haldeman (Theresa Haldeman). Above all, one of his greatest joys was being grandpa to his adoring grandchildren: Mark, Nick, Clark, Reed, Henry, Jade, Nora and Charlotte.
Clemens led an active life, with a particular fondness for cross-country skiing and golf. During a fresh snowfall, you would find Clemens strapping a harness to his beloved husky, Rocco, for sunrise skijoring. As much as he adored his time on the snow, nothing compared to his love for golf. His passion for all things golf cannot be understated; it's where he built friendships, created memories and communed with loved ones, who no longer were with him.
For those who spent time with Clemens, you know that he never tired of a good political conversation, talking about those Cubs, cheering "Go Hawks!" and sharing his love for poetry. From Dylan Thomas, to John O'Donohue and Langston Hughes, he loved the written verse.
For more than 28 years, Clemens was a very grateful friend of Bill W, often humbled and joyous of friends and family Bill W brought into his life.
Clemens is preceded in death by his parents, as well as his sister, Catherine, and infant brother, Christopher.
The family would like to invite friends and colleagues to the visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home, and the remembrance of his life at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: The Innocence Project, www.innocenceproject.org, The Innocence Project of Iowa, 19 S. Seventh St., Estherville, IA 51334.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.