JOHN C. DOUGHERTY III
State Bar President, 1979-1980
J. Chrys Dougherty was born in Beeville, Texas, in 1915. His father
was also an attorney. In 1937 he received his B.A. degree with honors
from the University of Texas. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta
Sigma, and Beta Theta Pi. He then attended Harvard law school and
graduated in 1940.
In 1948 he received a diploma from the Inter-American Academy for
International and Comparative Law in Havana, Cuba. During World War II
he served as an officer in the U.S. Army and Coast Artillery, first in
counter-intelligence and later in France as a member of the Judge
Advocate General’s Foreign Claims Staff. In 1949 he became a
special assistant to the Attorney General of Texas, charged with defense
of the State of Texas’s interest in the off-shore continental
shelf. Dougherty practiced law in both Beeville and Austin with much of
his work devoted to estate planning and administration.
A member of the State Bar starting in 1946, he served on numerous
committees before assuming the presidency in 1979-1980. As president, he
was a pioneer for pro bono legal services, and his efforts helped to
build a strong working partnership between the State Bar of Texas and
legal services providers. Later in his career, he helped to establish
Texas Appleseed, an organization of volunteer lawyers and other
professionals who work to promote social and economic justice for all
Texans. Each year, the State Bar bestows an award in Dougherty’s
name to an outstanding legal services staff attorney to honor his
commitment to pro bono.
Dougherty contributed articles to legal publications and lectured
widely throughout the state. He was a member of the Inter-American Bar
Association, World Association of Lawyers, American Law Institute,
American Bar Association, and other legal organizations. He was a Fellow
of the Texas and American Bar Foundations, the American College of
Probate Counsel, and the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law.
A Presbyterian, Dougherty was a director of the Austin National Bank
and a major in the U.S. Army Reserves. He served as Honorary French
Consul in Austin and was affiliated with a number of civil and
philanthropic groups. In 1948 Dougherty married Mary Ireland Graves, and
they had two children. She died in 1977, and in 1978 he married Bea Ann
Smith, also an Austin attorney. Following their divorce, in 1982 he
married Sarah Blair Randle, who died in 1997.
Dougherty died Feb. 20, 2014, at age 98.