Kevin Clark lived every day with music in his soul and joy in his heart. From the moment he started banging on pots and pans as a toddler until his very last day, he loved nothing more than to rock out. Everywhere he went, the drumbeat of his positivity echoed throughout the room, turned up the volume in each person he met, and inspired them to be more loving, gracious, and present. Despite the intensity with which he beat his drums, Kevin was a gentle and loving soul.
While many knew Kevin for his early fame as Freddy, the face-melting kid-drummer in School of Rock, his greatest accomplishment and truest calling was his career as a professional musician and music teacher. As a devoted, passionate, and skilled teacher, Kevin got so much joy out of mentoring dozens of young people to completely shred like there was no tomorrow. As a musician, he got to play at his dream venues, meet his idols, travel the country, rock out on stage and on the big screen, and proudly inspire millions to pick up an instrument and “Stick it to the Man!”
Along with music, Kevin loved to cook (but not clean), spend time in nature, root loyally and loudly for the Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bulls, and laugh at his own jokes.
Kevin was born to be the “Cool Uncle” and cherished being just that to Chloe, Caitlyn, Connor, Patience, and Ryder. His constant dedication and devotion as a son to his mother Allison and father Keith knew no bounds. He loved them dearly and made sure they knew it every day. As a sibling he seemed to strike the perfect balance between lovingly aggravating his younger sister Nicole, older brother Cary, and sister-in-law Aimée right up to their boiling points, only to (usually) pull back just in time and win them over with his charm, humor, and devilish grin.
Despite (and sometimes because of) his many shenanigans, Kevin was adored by his stepmother Christine Clark, stepsister Ashley Tracey, Uncle Craig and Aunt Christina Clark, Aunt Carol and Uncle John O’Brien, Aunt Chandy Portman, Uncle Rob Portman and Aunt Annette Simon, and first cousins Courtney Costa, Trevor O’Brien, Kelly O’Brien Farrington, Benjamin Portman (Sandra Patino), Matthew Portman (Christina O’Rourke), and Rebecca Portman (Teal Ewer). Kevin is also survived and revered by a vast musical community in Highwood, Highland Park, and Chicago, including his most recent band Jess Bess & the Intentions and his entire Funk It Let’s Jam crew, as well as his School of Rock and Starbucks families. All his loved ones are completely floored by and utterly grateful for how this amazing community has rallied around them during this brutally sad time.
Those who knew him best solemnly believe Kevin is now jamming out at that great cosmic venue in the sky, keeping the rhythm going for his fellow fallen musician friends as his grandparents Seymour and Diane Portman and Clarence and Adeline Clark all dance along.
*PLEASE DO NOT SEND FLOWERS
Kevin liked flowers but he liked helping people more, so–if you are so moved to send flowers, please instead donate in his honor to SocialWorks an amazing organization seeking to empower local youth through music education and more. If you would like to see Chicago become a safer place for cyclists, limiting tragedies like this from happening in the future, please get involved with or donate to the Active Transportation Alliance.
The family will be hosting visitors on Sunday, June 13th at Symonds Funeral Home in Highwood, starting at 12 PM CT followed by a service at 3 PM CT. Please come dressed in your favorite band t-shirt. The service will also be live streamed on the funeral homes Facebook page. Overflow parking will be 1 block north at the Fort Sheridan train station. No media please.
In honor of Kevin there will be a presentation of a Ghost Bike and a vigil to celebrate his life and promote action to make Chicago a safer place to bike. Please join us at 10 AM CT on Saturday, June 12th in Logan Square. More details to follow. Media welcome.
On Thursday, June 17th at The Wooden Nickel in Highwood the Black Diamond Session, a part of Kevin’s musical family, will be gathering all the bands he played with and hosting a musical celebration of Kevin’s life from 7-11 PM.
We invite you to follow along as details evolve and we continue to find more ways to make sure that the beautiful music in Kevin’s soul reverberates for generations to come by visiting KevinsCoda.org and signing up for our e-mail list.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kevin Clark, please visit our floral store.