AOTA President Florence Clark Remembers Gary Kielhofner
I was returning from a short vacation in British Columbia when I learned of Gary’s death. There, among the thick vegetation and tall trees, I thought about the ways in which leaves take on such rich color in autumn before they fall to the earth. Then, each spring, scores of tiny buds appear—buds which will become the beautiful, green foliage of the next season.
I believe that in the past few months, Gary’s enormous legacy to the occupational therapy profession had a special resplendent vibrancy. Several months ago, I had the opportunity as incoming AOTA president to attend a symposium he convened at UIC to disseminate the impact of his work through his international partnerships. I am so grateful to have been able to be present and share thoughts with him on this occasion. Professions are made and sustained by leaders, but I believe among all such visionaries, only a handful obtains the very highest stature. Gary did. I am confident that his legacy will be deeply cherished in the hearts and minds of the generations to come. From the richness of his intellectual works and imagination, our budding practitioners of the future will go on to flourish.
In the next few days, we will be thinking deeply about how to best honor him in memoriam. Let us all start by taking a few quiet moments to contemplate his many gifts—to our profession and, ultimately, to those in need that it serves. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to Renee, his family, the many colleagues to whom he was close, and his friends.