How do you acknowledge such an accomplished man; especially one who is also the consummate gentleman; a man of integrity; a community leader; the sharer of wisdom and knowledge?
Of course, you list his impressive biographical accomplishments. But you also think about his influence on you and others in your circle. You reach out to those you know who were influenced by him because you want to hear about their opinions and experiences; about their relationship with him.
Carl was appointed as Chapter 13 Standing Trustee in the Eastern District of Michigan in 1985. Having been a trustee for several years, I met Carl at an NACTT seminar shortly after his appointment. We were friendly. One can’t help but feel an immediate friendship with Carl. And in 1993, when Carl was appointed to the NACTT Executive Board, he was one year my junior in the hierarchy of the Executive and Advisory Boards. We served together for the next 9 years during which Carl served as NACTT President during the 1997-1998 year. We also served together as Charter Board members of the NACTT Academy beginning in 2007. To say the least, we became more than ‘friendly’!
Carl exemplified a wise and thoughtful leader and colleague. He had a few more years of life experience than I and I learned from his thoughtfulness, kindness and wisdom. It was years later that I learned of Carl’s professional and personal public service in his home community and statewide. Knowing Carl, it wasn’t a surprise to learn about his community involvement but it explained so much about who Carl is. He need only to participate in a discussion on any topic and you know immediately that much of his wisdom comes from his life experiences. His kindness and thoughtfulness comes from his heart.
“When Carl spoke, I listened. He is wise and was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. He will be missed.” Tim Truman, Chapter 13 Trustee, Fort Worth TX.
“I’ve known Carl his entire trustee career. I think his major attribute is his desire to always be inclusive. And he seeks input from all. He is a very “centered” person who has a strong notion of justice and has helped guide me for three decades. Consistent with the above, he was very moved when his oldest daughter and her husband asked him,when they decided to sell their beautiful home in Flint, to build right next door to him. As a lawyer, trustee, and a man, he offers an amazing example of what we should all strive for.” David Ruskin, Chapter 13 Trustee, Detroit, Michigan.
“I have had the pleasure of serving as Carl’s staff attorney in the Flint Chapter 13 Trustee’s Office for the last 11 years. Carl has always been very involved in the bankruptcy community. He has been a pioneer in debtor education and has been a mentor to many attorneys. One of the things I admire most about Carl is his dedication and commitment to public service. He’s been very involved in the communities in which he served. His passion and excitement for the City of Flint is infectious.
I was recently asked the question: “What makes a good statesman?” Upon being asked that question, I immediately thought of Carl and what a perfect example of a “statesman” he has been.
Carl is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He is a leader, a mentor an educator and a very kind human being. I would say to Carl, please know and remember that you have made a difference and created a huge impact in our bankruptcy community, the bankruptcy bar and the communities in which you’ve served.
It’s been my absolute pleasure and honor to know you, to work with you and to serve as your staff attorney. I wish for you – the happiest retirement.” Melissa Caouette, Chapter 13 Trustee, Flint, Michigan.
“From 2002 -2010, I was staff attorney to Carl in the Chapter 13 Office. As the first staff attorney in the office, we figured out the role of staff attorney in the Chapter 13 Office. Carl was generous in sharing all the administrative and legal substantive area of the office operation. Carl was instrumental in teaching me how to run a Chapter 13 Office, how to relate to the bankruptcy bar, Chapter 13 employees, court and court staff, as well as introducing me to many Chapter 13 Trustees across the country. From this experience I was well prepared to move on to the Kalamazoo Trusteeship. But the characteristic for which I will always remember Carl and hold in him high regard is his active promotion of others. He provided support and encouragement to many attorneys as they were entering the legal profession. He supported and encouraged women to take leadership roles in organizations to which they belonged. He provided opportunities in the Chapter 13 Office for all staff. He regularly commented “family first” and acted on that sentiment.
His cordiality and thoughtfulness toward others is legend in the Chapter 13 bar. Carl is the type of person, lawyer and Trustee who treated everyone with respect and dignity, be they his staff, other attorneys, the court security officers, the court personnel or, most importantly, the debtors who found themselves in a difficult financial situation. But, meeting him, no one would suspect behind that kind demeanor was a professional who was on a first name basis with a many political leaders in the State of Michigan. Carl’s priorities were and are in the right place: respect for people. And from that, all good things came. Here’s to a long and healthy retirement shared with family and friends.” Barbara Foley, Chapter 13 Trustee, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Although I digress to provide Carl’s biography, it’s no less impressive than if I had started with his lengthy list of accomplishments and longstanding public service and contributions. Please take a moment to read Carl’s bio. It tells so much of the man he is.
Having graduated Cum Laude from Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1964 and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan in 1967, Carl Bekofske, Esq., started his solo law practice in Flint, Michigan. His practice evolved from a general practice, criminal defense and domestic relations to a focus on Estate Planning, Probate Administration, Guardians/Conservators and Circuit Court Receiverships. As an educator he was an Adjunct Professor at Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan 1992-1994. He taught Bankruptcy and Secured Transactions at Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan from 1972-1974. He also taught Criminal and Constitutional Law in Criminal Justice Program.
Carl has been an active member of Genesee County Bar Association since 1968. He served on the Board and numerous committees, including President, Genesee County Bar Foundation since 1990, Vice President and President of American Inns of Court, Centennial Chapter of Flint since 1997, as Association of lawyers focusing on ethics and mentoring new attorneys.
In his community service, Carl just recently stepped away from his position of Genesee County Public Administrator, which he held since 1986. Since 2008, he also served on the Hurley Hospital Board of Managers and as Board Chair. Organizations to which Carl volunteered his time and talents include chair and member of various committees for Community Foundation, Community Impact Committee Leadership Flint, Member Charter Board First Community Advisory Board, WFUM-TV Michigan Prospect for Renewed Citizenship, Lansing, including Treasurer United Way, Allocations Committee Urban League, former Board Member, Committee Chairs Whaley Children’s Center, former Board Member, officer and Special Recognition Award in 1986 and member of Founders Club Children’s Circle, Membership Woodside Church, including Treasurer, Personnel and Trust Fund Committees, Mass Transportation Authority of Flint, appointed by Mayor James Sharp.Carl further served as City Council Member for the City of Flint. He was twice elected and served in numerous capacities including Vice President and President of City Council. He assisted in implementing a new City Charter and transfer to elected mayor system of government. Carl Chaired Finance Committee, Government Operations, and served as delegate to many community boards, including the Charter Revision Commission, City of Flint. He served as Chair of a nine-member publicly elected commission which drafted a new City Charter adopted by majority vote in 1974.
Carl’s community recognitions include ACLU – 2011 Civil Libertarian of the Year; Genesee County Bar Association – Civility Award; Michigan Hospital Association – 2011 Governance Fellowship; NACTT-Distinguished Service Award awarded in2002 at the national conference in Puerto Rico; other appreciation awards for serving as faculty at seminars for various organizations. Congratulations, Carl, on your retirement; the next of life’s adventure.