Meyer Suozzi is saddened to share that our colleague and dear friend, Janice Ann Clear Enright passed away in the early evening of February 6, 2018 at her home in Belle Haven, VA, after a year’s long siege by neuroendocrine cancer. Known by many as “J”, she was 67 years old.
Born in October 1950 in Baldwin, NY, the only child of Robert Clear and Jean Braun Clear, Janice grew up on Long Island, where she graduated from Valley Stream South High School, and later earned a BA degree in education from the Westbury campus of the State University of New York. Shortly before moving to Washington DC, she had begun working on a degree from Adelphi University to teach the hearing impaired.
After working at Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor in Rockville Centre, Long Island, in 1985 Janice went to work at the prestigious Long Island law firm of Meyer Suozzi English and Klein, founded by the renowned NY Democratic leader and close Kennedy confidant John F. English. Initially apolitical, she became an ardent Democrat. As a trusted ally and confidant of Democratic activist Harold Ickes, a partner at MSEK, she held a front row seat at the highest levels of NYC and national politics, including the election of David M. Dinkins as the first Black mayor of New York City, where she made lasting friendships with future Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife; Jesse L. Jackson’s 1988 presidential bid; Bill Clinton’s nomination and election in 1992 and reelection in 1996. She also worked on the 1992 Democratic National Convention in NYC with Democratic National Party Chairman Ron Brown; and Hillary Clinton’s historic 2000 campaign for senate in NY and 2008 presidential campaign.
Janice served as chief of staff to deputy White House chief of staff Harold Ickes for three years and then, as his chief of staff at the 1997 G-8 Summit in Denver, the annual conference of leading western economic powers.
In 1997, Janice and Harold formed The Ickes & Enright Group, Inc., focusing on government affairs, of which she was president until her death. She served a range of clients, focusing primarily on not-for-profit organizations, and was proud to be one of the few women owners of a Washington, DC firm.
Keeping its own identity, The Ickes & Enright Group joined with the then Griffin, Johnson, Peck, Madigan & Stewart firm, to establish the bipartisan Tiber Creek Group, one of Washington, DC’s preeminent, freestanding government relations firms, now composed of The Ickes & Enright Group; Peck Madigan Jones; Bay Bridge Strategies; Tiber Creek Health Strategies; & TiberCom.
Janice’s longtime partner Harold said, “One could not have wished for a better, more trusted partner and confident that J. A very special gem. She was talented, optimistic, discreet, shrewd, devoted, very smart, a wonderful writer and had a winning way with people from all backgrounds. Many of those who knew her much preferred dealing with her than with me. As hardened and cynical as Washington can be, she was without guile, she never lost her optimism, and always found the best in people. If a measure of a person is the unrestrained devotion of their friends, J ranked at the very top. Her heart was deep and loving. She was a model and an inspiration for many. We have lost a very bright light. She will be greatly missed and long remembered.”
Early on after moving to Washington DC, she found deep serenity at her and Gary’s weekend retreat at Mineral Spring Farm in Talbot County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, with her beloved horse Jolly and her Golden Retrievers, including Rugby who was at her side when she slipped away last Tuesday.
Janice’s greatest pride and lasting monument, however, is her family, of which she was the center of gravity. She is survived by her husband, Gary of 36 years; two children by her first husband, Bruce Alvarez – Michael Alvarez of San Diego, CA, who served as a Marine Corps pilot in the Afghanistan war, and his sons, Tuner and Van, and Jennifer Alvarez Warburton of Alexandria, VA, an accomplished Washington, DC lobbyist and her husband, Will, and their children, Graeme and Claire Janice; and by her half-sister, Robin Clear.