Bar Mourns Brashier's Death
Longtime executive director of state bar suffered from esophageal cancer
Staff and leaders of the State Bar of Georgia expressed shock and sadness after the Dec. 20 death of Cliff Brashier, the bar's longtime executive director.
"I can't even tell you how bad everyone feels," said the bar's current president, Charles Ruffin, who said Brashier died of complications from esophageal cancer. He was 69.
Brashier served as the state bar's executive director for 20 years and had been on its staff since 1980.
Ruffin, former bar presidents and the bar's staff called Brashier the glue that held the organization together and remembered his kindness, good humor and effective but unobtrusive leadership.
"Cliff was a rock," said former president Ken Shigley. At the beginning of his term, Shigley asked each of his predecessors for advice. "They all said one thing: Listen to Cliff," he recalled. "He was so low-key and so wise. He gave sage advice without seeming to."
"Cliff could have been secretary of state," Ruffin said. "He was so diplomatic. He was always positive and always put you at ease."
"If you asked Cliff if something was a good idea or a bad idea, he'd tell you," but not unless asked directly, Ruffin continued. Otherwise, he said, when discussing ideas, "Cliff would say, 'Have you ever considered this?' When he said that, you knew he was saying, 'That's a bad idea.'"
"He went out of his way to make the bar president look good," Shigley added. "Everybody comes in thinking they've got one year to make their mark—I was no exception. He was good at guiding your thinking to keep you out of trouble. Presidents come and go, but Cliff was there forever."
Steve Laine, the bar's chief financial officer, said "Cliff had a wonderful way of aiding consensus among bar leaders by recalling the bar's past successes and failures at the right moments, while at the same time allowing the bar leaders to make their own decisions. He truly understood that it was their bar. I will miss him greatly."
The bar's general counsel, Paula Frederick, said, "If you were to ask any of the 21 presidents of the State Bar of Georgia who served with Cliff, they would tell you that his advice and friendship were essential to the success of their bar year and to the healthy growth of the State Bar of Georgia."