Funeral services set for Oakland Co. attorney Clarence Dass

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Bloomfield Hills — Funeral services for award-winning attorney and former judicial candidate Clarence M. Dass will be held Friday at St. Hugo of the Hills Church, 2215 Opdyke in Bloomfield Hills.

Dass, 36, died Sunday, May 29, 2022, while hospitalized for colon cancer, a disease he had battled for several years. He was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2017. He kept his cancer treatment private and continued to work, family and friends said.

Family and friends marvel at his strength and many accomplishments, including being a local and state champion in forensic debate; obtaining an undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from Ohio State where he was also editor of the law review.

Attorney Clarence Dass at the Dass Law Firm in Bloomfield Hills on June 28, 2021. Dass died Sunday after a years-long battle with colon cancer.

Dass spent four years as an assistant Oakland County prosecutor before founding the Dass Law Firm, where he managed the firm practicing family and criminal law. He ran, unsuccessfully for circuit judge in 2020 and was an outspoken advocate for colon cancer screening.

“Clarence was an incredible attorney — maybe the greatest of our millennial generation,” said attorney Jonathan Schwartz. The pair were singled out by the late Oakland County Brooks Patterson’s “Elite 40 Under 40” in 2016. The program recognizes leaders under the age of 40 who are making a difference in Oakland County and beyond, according the the county website. 

Dass also was named president of Leadership Oakland in 2017, a nonprofit group of area leaders passionate about helping individuals, the community and businesses grow. He received a “Leader of Leaders” award from the group in 2018 for exemplary leadership and was a recipient of the Michigan Bar Association’s “Unsung Hero Award” in 2019.

“My brother did more in his young life than most people do in a long lifetime,” said his sister, Dr. Kathleen Dass. “He was a brave, wonderful, selfless person that only wished for good in life for everyone. When someone would ask him how he could ever defend someone accused of a crime he would respond ‘everyone deserves a defense.’

“He had an incredible work ethic,” she said. “Even when ill he continued to work on his cases from bed, writing legal briefs — never taking a day off.

“His wife, Dr. Renee Dass, is expecting twins — a boy and a girl — in a few weeks and it's something he was really looking forward to, meeting them,” his sister said. “I’m sure he will be looking down at them.”

Susan Hollady, executive director of Leadership Oakland, described Dass as “one of the most amazing, caring individuals in the Leadership Oakland family.”

“He always wanted to make everyone feel comfortable and involved in whatever we were doing,” she said. “We are all still trying to get over his death.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said she was shocked to hear of Dass' death. 

"I got to know Clarence during my time as a judge. He was a talented attorney, and very passionate about his work. While our time at the Prosecutor’s Office did not overlap, he was well-liked by his coworkers here, and he will be missed," McDonald said. "His passing is a true loss for Oakland County. His wife and family are in my prayers.”

Clarence Dass is also survived by another sister, Dr. Clarissa Dass, and his parents, Dr. Ramsay Dass and Natalie Dass.

There will be a visitation from 10-11 a.m. at St. Hugo of the Hills Church  followed by a funeral service. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 W. 10 Mile, Southfield.

A GoFundMe account established in support of Clarence Dass’ family has raised more than $34,000, Schwartz said.

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