This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Winter 2017-2018 (Vol. 86, No. 4), pp 50.
David M. Ewert, Assistant Director for Admissions for the Iowa Office of Professional Regulation, and chair of the Council of Bar Admission Administrators for the 2010–2011 and 2012–2013 terms, passed away on September 10, 2017. The following tribute to Dave, written by Hon. Mark S. Cady, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, is adapted from the eulogy Justice Cady gave at the celebration of life for Dave held on September 16, 2017.
By Hon. Mark S. Cady
In September 2017 we said good-bye to Dave Ewert. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. While sorrow remains, we smile at the life he lived and the contributions he left behind.
To Iowa’s court system, Dave was an icon, an institution within an institution, first as its director of research, and then as its director of bar admissions.
As director of research, Dave knew the legal culture of the Iowa Supreme Court and its direction. He knew every case and where it fit within the mosaic of all cases. He was smart and well read. He commanded the respect of all those who worked for him and for the Court.
As director of bar admissions, Dave ushered in the Uniform Bar Examination to admit lawyers into the practice of law and to facilitate their ability to practice in other states without having to take another bar examination. All lawyers admitted to practice law in Iowa within the last decade or so knew Dave. His signature is inscribed on their certificates of admission that hang on their office walls. The existence of those certificates will now be a fitting tribute to Dave’s work long into the future.
Dave did his work with care and commitment. The legal profession meant a lot to Dave, as did the qualifications and examination process to practice the profession. He was respected by all, and his reputation extended well beyond the borders of Iowa. Everyone knew Dave. Just a few weeks before his death, Dave’s contributions to the profession were recognized by his being presented with the Outstanding Bar Admission Administrator Award at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the Council of Bar Admission Administrators. In a photograph taken showing Dave accepting the award, the presenter was dressed in a suit and tie. Dave was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. That was Dave.
But Dave was so much more.
He was a husband to Kathy, a father to Gabe, a brother, a friend to all. He was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes football and basketball teams and a fan of the Chicago Cubs. He could also be a critic of his teams, but not because he was critical. He just knew a lot about the game and how it should be played. If I have not mentioned, Dave was very smart.
And we were all fans of Dave. Fans of the way he enjoyed life. Fans of his humor. Fans of his quick wit. Fans of his infectious smile and his lovable chuckle. Fans of the way he loved food, beer, and music, preferably at the same time. Fans of his loud floral shirts. Fans of when and where Dave’s loud floral shirts would make their appearance. It was Dave, and we all loved him.
Dave showed us that a person can have fun, lots of fun, and still be everything else in life.
No one knows how long we have. Just as none of us can know what lies ahead in life waiting to test us.
But we can follow Dave’s lead. We can live out our lives with joy, purpose, love, and a passion for justice.
And every once in a while, we can remember to step out of the box, put on a wild floral shirt, and go out on the town to enjoy life to its fullest.
Thank you, Dave Ewert. May you rest in the comfort of eternal peace.
Contact us to request a pdf file of the original article as it appeared in the print edition.