Submit a memorial at texasbar.com/memorials or call (512) 427-1830. For information on closing a deceased attorney’s practice, go to www.texasbarcle.com/materials/closingapractice.html.
George Murat Thurmond
Thurmond, 86, of Del Rio, died May 7, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1955. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father before him, Thurmond was elected to and served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1955 to 1958, having been on the Criminal Jurisprudence and Judiciary committees. He then worked as an attorney in his hometown at Montague & Thurmond and was elected as judge of the 63rd Judicial District in 1970, where he served for 30 years. Thurmond was appointed presiding judge of the 6th Administrative Judicial Region in Texas from 1983 to 1987 and was chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas in 1988-1989. He is remembered for being an avid scuba diver and enjoying jazz. Thurmond is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elsiejean “Jeanie” (Davis) Thurmond; daughters, attorney Carolyn Day Thurmond, Georganna Gomillion, and Sarah Gail Thurmond; and two granddaughters.
McDonough, 77, of Galveston, died May 5, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964. After a year in private practice in Houston, McDonough was an assistant district attorney in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office from 1965 to 1969; assistant U.S. attorney and then chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas in Houston from 1969 to 1974; U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas from 1974 to 1977; a partner in Hirtz & McDonough in Houston from 1977 to 1985; a partner in McDonough & Horne in Houston from 1985 to 1990; managing partner in McDonough & Gwin in Houston from 1990 to 2002; and managing partner in McDonough & Associates in Houston from 2002 to 2014. He served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors from 1988 to 1991, was president of the Houston chapter of the Federal Bar Association in 1976-1977, and was a founding member and president of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys from 1986 to 1987. McDonough is remembered for his lifelong love affair with the sea, having been an avid sailor; his involvement with the Krewe of the Knights of Momus in Galveston; and for being a deeply spiritual man and devout Catholic. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Dianne, and six godchildren.
Tommy J. Turner
Turner, 69, of Lubbock, died April 27, 2017. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School, was a member of the Colorado Bar, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974. Turner was an assistant district attorney in the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office from 1974 to 1976; an associate of Wagonseller & Cobb in Lubbock from 1976 to 1981; a private practitioner in Lubbock from 1981 to 2015; and chief of the Public Integrity Unit in the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office from 2015 until his death. He was a director emeritus for the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, was involved with the Legal Aid Society of Lubbock, and served as president of CASA of the South Plains. Turner is remembered for being fair-minded, a zealous advocate for his clients, and a protector of the “little guy.” He is survived by his son, attorney T.J.; daughter, Lisa Stevens; brother, attorney Jay; sister, Terre Carthey; and five grandchildren.
Sharon Kay Messa
Messa, 66, of Houston, died March 13, 2017. She received her law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1984. Messa was a lawyer in Houston for 32 years, primarily in private practice and also as a senior assistant city attorney for the city of Houston and an attorney for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston. She served on the Houston subcommittee of the Supreme Court of Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee from 1989 to 1990. Messa is remembered for her devout Roman Catholic faith, having been a parishioner of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. She is survived by her husband, attorney Joseph R. Messa; son, John R. Erwin Jr.; stepson, Dr. Matthew J. Messa; and two grandchildren.
John H. Fostel
Fostel, 69, of Lake Bridgeport, died June 2, 2017. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974. Fostel was an attorney with Woodruff, Fostel, Wren, and Simpson from 1974 to 1995 and was judge of the 271st Judicial District from 1995 until his death. He previously served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and received the Charles J. Murray Outstanding Jurist Award from the Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association in 2014. Fostel held leadership roles in numerous youth sports and civic organizations, loved his family and cherished time spent with them, and was an avid hunter and golfer. He was preceded in death by his daughter Kate and is survived by his wife, Cathy; sons, attorney Chris, Josh, and Justin Cortez; daughter, Meagan Hood; and seven grandchildren.
Donald E. Van Meter
Van Meter, 79, of College Station, died March 1, 2017. He served as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, having been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and given recognition for meritorious service. Van Meter received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, was a member of the Oklahoma Bar, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1986. He was an attorney in private practice in Lawton, Oklahoma, from 1972 to 1989 while serving as a U.S. Air Force reservist in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Van Meter returned to active duty in 1989, attended the U.S. Air Force Air War College, served as a civil service attorney at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, and then continued reservist duties at other military bases. Van Meter is remembered for his love of teaching Boy Scouts and active involvement in National 4-H Shooting Sports and veteran organizations. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Rose A. Van Meter; son, Brice E. Van Meter; daughter, Victoria A. Janousek; and three grandchildren.
Russell L. Munsch
Munsch, 61, of Austin, died February 21, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980. Munsch was an associate of Winstead in Dallas from 1980 to 1985 and a co-founder and name shareholder in Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Austin and Dallas from 1985 until his death. During his nearly 40-year career, he worked on high-profile bankruptcy cases, including those involving Enron Corporation, Coho Energy Corporation, Northwest Airlines, and one of the largest personal bankruptcy proceedings in history, Nelson Bunker Hunt. Munsch is remembered for his love of golf, playing guitar, and traveling the world. He is survived by his wife of more than 35 years, Sheri; daughter, Rachel; stepbrother, Steve Turtle; and sister, Jan Kerr.
Jack Gordon Kennedy
Kennedy, 91, of Pottsboro, died February 22, 2017. He served as a Korean War ship commander in the U.S. Navy. Kennedy received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, was a member of the Oklahoma Bar, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949. He moved to Sherman in 1954, where he was an associate of the law firm of Joe Keith and then was a partner in Slagle & Kennedy; a partner in Brown & Hill; and a founder and partner in Kennedy & Minshew from 1971 until his death. Kennedy is remembered for being an avid fly fisherman. He is survived by his wife, Ann; sons, Mark and attorney David; stepson, Kevin Cromer; daughters, Pamela Taylor and Marla; stepdaughter, attorney Kamela Wilkinson; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Carla Terry Johnson
Johnson, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, died January 9, 2017. She served in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2014 and attended the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. Johnson received her law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1997. She was a trial attorney with the Defense Contract Auditing Agency in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, from 2015 to 2017. Johnson is remembered for her love of jazz music, reading, and traveling with her daughters. She is survived by her husband of 2 1/2 years, Cornell D. Johnson; daughters, Cayla R. Peters and Camryn B. Peters; mother, Henrietta T. Borden; brothers, Carl E. Terry, Bland C. Grant Jr., and Eugene B. Grant; and sisters, Belinda Terry, Yvette Yarn, and Kristen Richardson.
Moore, 98, of Waco, died April 16, 2017. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School, was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1943, and later served in the U.S. Army. Moore worked as an assistant district attorney in McLennan County before successfully running for and serving as district attorney from 1952 to 1960. He then was in private practice in Waco from 1960 to 2017. Moore won a seat in the Texas Legislature and served as a state representative from 1967 to 1972, having been a part of the “Dirty Thirty,” a bipartisan group of House members that called for a fraud investigation into what became known as the Sharpstown scandal. He is remembered for having a delightful sense of humor, a ferocious intellect, and a heart bigger than his beloved Texas. Moore is survived by his wife of almost 33 years, Robbie; daughters, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore and Elizabeth Harris; sons, attorney Thomas Paul Moore III and Grant Farek; sister, Mary Francis “Bebe” Waltrip; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
B. C. Fenley Jr.
Fenley, 79, of Spring, died July 30, 2016. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1958. Fenley received his law degree from the University of Houston College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965. He was a partner in Malone, Murphy & Fenley in the 1980s; a partner in Matkin, Hollowick, Fenley & Barfield in the 1990s; and in private practice from 1965 through the 1970s and again from 1998 to 2015. In 2015, Fenley received recognition from the State Bar of Texas after 50 years of practicing law. He is remembered for his love of family, especially spending time with his grandchildren; studying Texas history and the Civil War; and tinkering with small inventions. Fenley is survived by his wife of 54 years, Linda; sons, Todd and Scott; sister, Rita; and four grandchildren.TBJ