Flags in the town of DeWitt fluttered at half-staff Monday and Tuesday in honor of family court judge and DeWitt resident David Klim, 53, who died at his home Thursday after a brief illness.
It was Klim's long-time friend and fellow judge Jack Schultz who requested the flags be lowered as a public symbol of respect.
The town of DeWitt and justice have suffered a severe loss, Schultz said. His like will not be looked upon again.
Klim began his second 10-year term as family court judge in January. Schultz administered the oath of office to him in at the inauguration ceremony at DeWitt Town Hall. Then Klim returned the favor for Schultz, reelected as DeWitt Town Justice.
That was our pact before the election, Schultz said.
DeWitt Supervisor Jim DiStefano said the town does not generally lower the flags for residents, but Klim's impact on the community merits the exceptional homage.
David Klim was a quality person, DiStefano said. We're all shocked and disappointed.
Klim's wife, Barbara Klim, serves as DeWitt Town Clerk. She hopes the community will remember her husband's dedication to life.
He lived life on his own terms and he had a tremendous capacity for enjoying every person he came across, she said. He did not put things off. It taught me a whole lot.
Klim was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease. The condition caused him to use a wheelchair, but friends and family said that never slowed him down.
He would move that wheelchair so fast I had to run, Schultz said. That was his zest for life. In trying cases in front of Judge Klim and being his associate, the least thing you thought about was his challenges. He looked you right in the eye and you knew you were going to receive justice.
Before winning the family court judgeship, Klim worked as an attorney in private practice. The consistency of his personal and professional values impressed his colleagues.
You've got to be a wonderful person to be a wonderful judge, said DeWitt Justice David Gideon.
He was a man of honor, a man of integrity and a man of perspicacity, Schultz said. He had a compassion that was pervasive.