Grandpa Clare’s Legacy

Clare and Carolyn Vollan portraitby Abby Bischoff, Executive Director

Several years ago, I sat at a conference listening to the headlining speaker during a Q&A. The moderator asked the Oscar-nominated actor a simple question – “what do you want your legacy to be?”

After a brief moment of reflection, the actor explained that if he is spending his time worried about what his legacy will be, there’s no way he could be focused on doing the things that really matter.

That answer has always stuck with me. It seems that we get really caught up in the accolades, accomplishments and successes of life. And listen, I get it, recognition for work well done feels good.

But I think that speaker had a larger point in mind.

What is a legacy?

If we spend our lives worried about what other people think, are we really living an authentic life? If we’re only doing work that lands us in those accolades, are we doing work that matters?

I think about that moment more frequently the older I get. Am I living my life in a way that makes a difference now? Am I focusing on things that matter now? Am I showing up as the most authentic version of me with the people that matter to me now?

Now, enough about me. There’s a larger point ahead.

Grandpa Clare

Last month, the Stockyards family lost a good one. Clare Vollan passed away at the age of 94. “Grandpa Clare,” as we called him, was an early board member for the Stockyards Ag Experience. His more than fifty years of experience at the Stockyards as a livestock salesman and eventual majority owner of the Adams Dougherty Livestock Brokerage Firm, equipped him with endless stories and memories of the Sioux Falls Stockyards.

Beyond his service to agriculture, Clare was a man of faith and conviction. He served his country by enlisting in the Army and his church by teaching Sunday school and much, much more.

While Clare’s board service had ended by the time I started with the Stockyards Ag Experience, his involvement was unending. He’d still bring a small groups in for a personal tour, show up at special events and always give a beaming smile when doing it.

Clare and Carolyn, his wife of 66 years, have left a lasting impact in the Sioux Falls area. Through hard work, servant leadership and simply showing up for people, they have left a mark where it matters most – the hearts of the people around them.

I doubt Clare ever stopped and thought about what his legacy would be because he was just too busy living his long, beautiful life.

Thanks for everything, Clare. We’ll miss you.