Clarke Thomas and I came to Pittsburgh within six years of each other and he soon involved me in a group appropriately called the Casual Club, which practiced his line of inquiry for several years: question, investigate and challenge. It included politicians, judges and clergy. Papers were read and defended and critiqued. Over the years it was apparent that Clarke's style had been influenced by the Casuals.
Above all, Clarke was curious about people and institutions that were unique to Pittsburgh in the declining decades of the industrial age when we made things and produced a workable society. He had a deep interest in the people and the process that produced industrial unionism, and sought out all he could of names now largely forgotten -- Phil Murray, Pat Fagan, Clint Golden and others who were part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the fabric of the city.
What a guy! He made us all proud of his newspaper calling, his adopted city and himself.
RUSSELL W. GIBBONS
The writer is a former communications director of the United Steelworkers and director of the Philip Murray Institute of Labor Studies.