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 MA 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, MA 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, MA, as well as many other extended family members and friends who will miss him greatly.
Kern will be interred alongside his parents in West Cemetery in Chelmsford. Due to the pandemic, services are being handled privately by the family. For condolences, please visit his Tribute Wall, located above.
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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The Seattle Public Library Foundation
P.O. Box 3951, Seattle WA 98124
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004