ACLU of Indiana, ILS founder remembered for fighting for justice

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The man who helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Indiana Legal Services Organization died April 5 after a brief hospitalization. Irving Fink was 95.

Fink’s legal career spanned more than 60 years and involved handling many controversial clients, including the Ku Klux Klan and conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War.

Fink ended up in Indianapolis after an Army buddy helped him get a job as a lawyer in the city in 1949. Fink had spent four years in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Great Britain for some months through the time of the D-Day invasion.

As a solo, he could take whatever case he wanted, which also included representing a Jehovah’s Witness fired from his public school principal job because he would not pledge allegiance to the flag.

Over the course of his career, Fink received many awards, including the Robert Risk Award from the Indianapolis branch of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (now called the ACLU of Indiana) and the General Practice Hall of Fame Award in 2013 from the Indiana State Bar Association.
He was an avid tennis player and a three-time champion of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s doubles tennis tournament.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Bea; five children; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Contributions in his memory may be made to the ACLU of Indiana.

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