ST. CHARLES – Michael Clancy, a fourth-generation attorney in a family law practice, was known for his love of animals, and together with his wife, Michelle, rescued and fostered many dogs.
The brother of Kane County Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles, Michael Clancy, 57, was found dead Feb. 4 in the DuPage County Forest Preserve District’s Pratt's Wayne Woods, officials said.
“I’m the youngest of four with three older brothers,” Boles said. “Mike was the oldest. He was a wonderful role model for all of us. We always said to each other that we were each other’s best friends, and we could always rely on one another. And that was true. That was true to the end. You couldn’t ask for a better brother, and I am speaking for my [other] brothers as well.”
A resident of Wayne, Clancy was a 1977 graduate of St. Charles East High School, where he was class president and captain of the varsity hockey and baseball teams.
He pursued a law degree from Boston College Law School in 1984, but returned to the area in 1992 to be a partner in the family practice, Clancy Law, in St. Charles. Since 2015, Clancy operated a litigation and mediation practice in St. Charles.
DuPage Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Howard Oller said a person walking a dog found Clancy in the forest preserve with a gunshot wound to the head.
As a full coroner’s report is still pending, his death is considered a suspected suicide, Oller said.
Instead of flowers, the family has asked that memorials be made to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 120 Wall St., 29th Floor, New York, NY 10005 or Safe Humane Chicago, P.O. Box 7342, Chicago, IL 60680-7342.
“His love for animals, his love for Michelle – he exemplified what so many people loved to see and desired to be,” Boles said. “He was a great guy.”
Boles said her brother’s death leaves “holes in lots of places.”
“I feel not only for my family and for Michelle, but Mike had so many friends and networks,” Boles said. “He worked with so many animals that he helped. It’s not only our family that is suffering, it’s this group of friends, and the animals he would help and rescue.”
Cynthia Bathurst, executive director and co-founder of Safe Humane Chicago, said any money sent as a memorial to Clancy will be put into a newly created Michael W. Clancy Court Case Dog Fund, both to honor him and continue the work he supported.
Court case dogs are animals that were extremely abused or neglected and are evidence in court cases, Bathurst said. After a trial, the dogs often would be impounded and forgotten about, she said.
The organization holds classes with volunteers who work with these dogs to help them recover from their trauma and be able to be adopted, she said.
“Michael volunteered with us,” Bathurst said. “He always went out of his way to be helpful. … He would sweep and mop after class or handle any dog the leader gave him, and he was always a pleasure to be around. We already miss him.”
A celebration of Clancy’s life will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 4 at the Dunham Woods Riding Club, 33W333 E. Army Trail Road, Wayne.
A full obituary is available on the Yurs Funeral Home website, www.yursfuneralhomes.com.
The following places offer help to those considering suicide:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255
• National Crisis Help Line – 800-784-2433
• Depression Hotline – 630-482-9696
• Suicide Prevention Services, 528 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia – www.spsamerica.org
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – suicidepreventionlifeline.org
• The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – afsp.org
• Suicide Awareness Voices of Education – www.save.org