A Servant’s Heart: The Steadfast Life of Clarence Schawk

A Servant’s Heart: The Steadfast Life of Clarence Schawk

Lately, we have been thinking about personal fortitude- the strength to continuously meet challenges, tackle them, and keep forging on. Clarence W. Schawk was that man, a man of strong faith and strong actions. He was a forward and global thinker, a dynamic businessman with a passion for loving God. Clarence often said, “God first, family second and business third,” and this is how he lived.

When he was only 17, Clarence left high school before graduating to join the Marines. He put duty to country before his needs, but never stopped learning. His time in the Marines shaped his future: his work ethic, his dedication, and his vigor. Upon returning, he married Marilyn, a woman with strength, character and faith to match his own, who would be his partner for 61 years.

With a $500 wedding gift, Clarence started a printing-plate business in 1953 that grew to become a publicly traded leader in the graphics and brand development industry. As an ever forward thinker, the Schawk company kept ahead of the times and went through numerous transformations, acquiring new companies and reinventing itself along the way.

Taking his faith and enterprising mindset, Clarence and a number of fellow Lutherans, all with a strong belief in the virtues and values of a Lutheran education, founded CLEF in 1993. To paraphrase Proverbs 22:6; he believed that when you teach a child to choose the right path, he will not depart from it when he is older.

Clarence lived life with a servant’s heart. He had a lifelong commitment to serving others with a generous heart and an open mind – to daily seeing opportunities to demonstrate our faith through our actions. He loved his God. He loved his family. He loved his work. He loved his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren and all the children in the CLEF schools.

Thank you, Clarence. Thank you for setting a beautiful example of what being a Christian, a leader, and a model servant means.