The Fraternity is saddened by the passing of Brother Clark Byrum Sr., Indiana ’57. His years as an undergraduate brother produced lifelong friendships, fond memories of serving in various officer positions and a high regard for the Ritual. These experiences inspired his decades as a local and national volunteer.
A highly respected entrepreneur, Byrum founded The Key Corporation, an Indianapolis-based insurance, banking and real estate company. Even while building a successful business, Byrum was actively engaged as a volunteer with his home chapter, Indiana Beta. In 1965, he joined the chapter’s alumni and volunteer corporation (AVC). The next year, he became AVC president, a role he served in for nearly 20 years.
In the 1980s, he was elected to the board of SigEp National Housing, serving for more than 15 years. He also served on the National Board of Directors for four years. In addition, Byrum was a member of the Fraternity’s Investment Committee and served as chair of the Audit Committee. Thanks to Byrum’s expertise in banking, the Fraternity increased its focus on creating sound financial processes and making strong investment decisions.
Byrum, in turn, invested in SigEp financially, making significant gifts to the Fraternity and maintaining a longtime membership in the Board of Governors, SigEp’s lead giving society for the Annual Fund.
In 2005, Byrum was presented the Order of the Golden Heart, SigEp’s highest honor, in recognition of his tireless service to Indiana Beta and the national Fraternity. He also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1988.
Some of the brothers who knew him well remarked on the impact Byrum made on them personally and on SigEp:
“Damn, I liked that man. He did so much for SigEp. He was peculiarly thoughtful.”
— Ken Maddox, Oregon ’75
“Clark was the epitome of our belief that SigEp is for life. Throughout his life he gave his time, talent, and treasure to the betterment of our brotherhood. He was the financial polestar for SigEp National Housing for decades. His financial wisdom was respected, valued and relied upon.” — Bert Harris, Florida ’74
“Clark was a leader by example. Though he seemed gruff at times, in truth, he cared deeply about younger SigEps and used his experience and influence to help young men who sought his help. He was always a source of encouragement and support for me during my tenure on Indiana Beta’s AVC.
“A heartwarming story: Clark hated to fly. So he conned Jon Kucera, Matt Ngo, Alex Woodlief, Patrick Murphy and myself into driving with him in a rented RV to Dallas for the 2013 Conclave. Everybody took turns driving but Clark, who nonetheless offered unsolicited commentary on our driving. There was much laughter on this excursion.
“Clark was a unique individual. A long list of organizations, especially Sigma Phi Epsilon, benefited immensely from his commitment to serve.” — Stephen Bishop, Indiana ’76
“I first met Clark at Conclave 1991 in Washington, D.C. The National Housing corporation (now SENH) was looking for an architect to serve on the board. Guess I passed the bar, as I served on the housing board until 2012. During that time, I got to know Clark as a consummate businessman; a mature, yet sometimes juvenile, brother; a perceptive observer; a quiet leader; a witty personality; and one who commanded respect with his persona.
“Along the way, we developed a personal friendship that we both valued, through good times and bad. He was a generous volunteer and contributed his time and assets to SigEp, the Fraternity he sincerely loved. Clark was a brother in the best sense, and he will be missed.
“Rest in peace, Brother Byrum.” — Jon Kucera, Virginia ’69