Memorials

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.


Searcy M. Ferguson Jr.

Searcy FergusonFerguson, 78, of Dallas, died March 8, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964. Ferguson practiced as a trial lawyer in Dallas for a few years before pursuing his passion—the hunt and discovery of oil. Among numerous discoveries, his greatest success was a well blowout in 1982 that produced over one million barrels of oil. He was a successful independent oil and gas operator, brilliant trial lawyer, champion debater, extemporaneous orator, astute and proficient banker, generational Texas rancher, a professional gambler and infamous cardshark, a visionary real estate developer, compassionate dog lover (especially Vizslas), voracious reader, and an accomplished and ambidextrous tennis player. Ferguson, who was known to be the true definition of a “gentleman,” loved all people, never met a stranger, and brought boundless joy to the countless lives he touched each and every day. His generosity and kindness was unmatched. Ferguson is survived by his sons, Malcom Ferguson, Searcy Ferguson III, and Jake Ferguson; daughters, Sawnie Ferguson McGee, attorney Kristina Ferguson, Alexandra Ferguson, and Julia Ferguson; and seven grandchildren.


Celeste Fletcher King

Celeste KingKing, 49, of College Station, died November 15, 2017. She received her law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2004. King was an attorney with Imbrie Law Firm in Bryan from 2005 to 2007 and in private practice in Bryan from 2007 to 2017. She is survived by her son, Fletcher O’Keefe King; stepfather, James Kracht; mother, Erin Briggs Kracht; and sister, Lillian Fletcher Anderton.


Richard Carl Gibson

Richard GibsonGibson, 78, of Midland, died March 25, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965. Gibson worked for the legislative council of the state of Texas; was chief counsel to the University of Texas System from 1968 to 1975; and joined his family in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975. He was named a 50-year-lawyer by the State Bar in 2015. Gibson is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy Hermann Gibson; daughters, Marisa Gibson Selkirk and Sally Gibson Agar; and six grandchildren.


Martis Wayne Cummings

Martis CummingsCummings, 89, of Coppell, died April 6, 2018. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951. Cummings served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Officers’ Reserve Corps until 1963. He was an attorney with Federal Land Bank of Houston from 1955 to 1958 and with Underwood, Wilson, Sutton, Heare & Boyce and Underwood, Wilson, Sutton, Heare & Berry in Amarillo from 1958 to 1961; assistant general counsel to Diamond Shamrock; vice president of and general counsel to Diamond Shamrock Exploration; secretary, director, and senior counsel of exploration to Maxus Energy in Houston from 1961 to 1991; and of counsel to Sprouse Shrader Smith and its predecessor from 1991 to 2017. Cummings was a humble family man known for his sense of humor. He enjoyed traveling, visiting many continents and countries, playing golf, and was a fan of John Wayne and George Strait. Cummings is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty Cummings; son, David Cummings; daughters, Sharon Byars, Jennifer Murray, Karen Bradley, Lauren McDowell, and Cathryn Garvin; 10 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.


Lionel Emile Gilly

Lionel GillyGilly, 99, of Dallas, died February 20, 2018. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II and was honorably discharged as a lieutenant. Gilly received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1948. He received his LL.M. from Southern Methodist University in 1953. Gilly was in private practice in Dallas from 1965 to 2000. He was active in the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Gilly is survived by his wife of 71 years, Phyllis Hawkins Gilly; daughters, Sue Gilly, Ruth Gilly Kenyan, and Mary Gilly Graham; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.


Anthony Gerard Brocato

Anthony BrocatoBrocato, 85, of Beaumont, died April 3, 2018. He served in the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of captain. Brocato received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958. He was city attorney of Beaumont; served as attorney for the Beaumont Independent School District and Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School; practiced with Weller, Wheelus, Green & Brocato in Beaumont; practiced with Crutchfield, DeCordova, Brocato & Heartfield in Beaumont; and then was in private practice in the Law Office of Anthony G. Brocato. Brocato was a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, and a fellow of the St. Anthony Cathedral School Foundation Board of Directors. He enjoyed spending time with his family and visiting with relatives and friends. Brocato is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Myrna Loy Johnson Brocato; sons, attorney Anthony Gerard Brocato Jr., attorney Walter Clyde Brocato, and James Michel Brocato; daughters, Jeanne Marie Brocato Parker and Elizabeth Brocato Jackson; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Joseph A. Florio

Joseph FlorioFlorio, 76, of San Antonio, died October 18, 2017. He received his law degree from Suffolk University Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2008. Florio was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1965. He was an associate of the Law Office of Oster, Espo, Fay & Groff in Lincoln, Rhode Island, from 1965 to 1971; a solo practitioner and legal counsel to the City of Providence Police Department from 1971 to 1980; an adjunct faculty member at Roger Williams College, now known as RWU, in Bristol, Rhode Island, and at Johnson & Wales College in Providence, now known as Johnson & Wales University; an assistant U.S. attorney and chief supervisory attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice for the Southern District of Florida from 1980 to 1984; an assistant U.S. attorney and associate director and one of the founders of the asset forfeiture program of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., from 1984 to 1987; an assistant U.S. attorney and chief asset forfeiture director for the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Texas from 1988 to 2008; and a solo practitioner in San Antonio from 2008 until the time of his death. Florio received an award in 2005 for the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, in Washington, D.C.; from the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs for the success of their organization from the unselfish donation of his professional advice and services; and from the Waco Treasury Task Force. He was known for his passion and dedication to the law; his knowledge in lecturing local and federal agents, including the DEA, FBI, IRS, and U.S. Postal Service; and as an avid reader—the topics of his conversations were unlimited. Florio is survived by his wife of 17 years, Irma Florio; son, Jason J. Florio; stepson, Wayne E. Shuptrine; daughters, Christina Florio, Melyssa Florio, and Stephanie Florio; and nine grandchildren.


Warren Paul New

Warren Paul NewNew, 96, of Denver City, died March 6, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, flying B-17 bombers as pilot and co-pilot in missions over Germany with the 8th Air Force stationed out of England. New received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1948. He worked as an assistant district attorney for District Attorney Will Wilson in Dallas from 1948 to 1949; in private practice in Denver City from 1949 to 1951; as Yoakum County attorney from 1951 to 1955; at Crenshaw, Dupree & Milam in Lubbock from 1955 to 1957; as Yoakum County judge from 1957 to 1958; and then in private practice in Denver City. New was president of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association in 1953, the South Plains Bar Association, and the State Bar of Texas District Grievance Committee; a State Bar Board of Directors member from 1962 to 1965; and a charter member of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Texas Tech Law School Foundation. He served as master of ceremonies for civic and school events for many years; was fondly remembered as “Pablo” by his friends and grandchildren; and was a member of Denver City First United Methodist Church. New is survived by his wife of 71 years, Grace New; sons, Barry New and attorney Warren New; daughters, Amy Black and Robin Hatfield; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.


Rex Nichols Sr.

Rex Nichols Sr.Nichols, 80, of Longview, died March 13, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962. Nichols was the owner of Nichols & Nichols in Longview from 1977 to 2005, after which time his son, Rex Nichols Jr., took over the practice. He will be remembered for his countless demonstrations of deep compassion for those who were suffering or in need, quietly helping them in meaningful ways to make their lives better. Nichols also had a love for animals, especially his pets, Princess, Buddy Lee, Tyke, Jo Jo, and Buck. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Latricia Nichols; sons, attorney Rex Nichols Jr. and Mark Nichols; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Roger Reith

Roger ReithReith, 79, of Highland Village, died February 10, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966. Reith was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1972. He was an associate of Sears Roebuck in Dallas from 1966 to 1968; an associate in the real estate department of Sears Roebuck in Chicago from 1968 to 1969; in real estate and the head of the shopping center department of Sears Roebuck in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1969 to 1977; head of the law department of Sears Roebuck in Dallas from 1977 to 1985; in his own real estate development company in Duncanville from 1985 to 1987; lead counsel to Ryan Mortgage in Arlington from 1987 to 1989; and vice president of North American Operations of Accor Hotels in Dallas from 1989 to 2006. Reith played in a tennis league in Duncanville and enjoyed traveling with his family some of his favorite trips being to Colorado, Las Vegas, and Yellowstone National Park. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janet Huffman Reith; son, Jeffrey J. Reith; daughters, Michele Reith Emmett, Christine Reith Donegan, Britt Reith Stark, and Debbie Kice; and eight grandchildren.


Richard T. Cassidy

Richard CassidyCassidy, 75, of Addison, died February 8, 2017. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1965 to 1970. Cassidy received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974. He worked with Caperton Law in Dallas from 1984 to 1986; was a partner specializing in employment law in Paige & Addison in Dallas from 1986 to 1996; was an owner and partner in Henslee & Cassidy in Dallas from 1997 to 2006; and was counsel to Henslee & Huguely in Dallas from 2007 to 2010. Cassidy wrote the Amazon Kindle e-book Mistaking Red Flags for Party Favors. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Ellen Davis Cassidy; stepson, Maury Thomas; daughter, Katy Cassidy; brother, Larry Cassidy; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.


Kelly Wayne Adams

Kelly Wayne AdamsAdams, 52, of Pearland, died February 28, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve’s 449th Engineer Detachment. Adams received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2009. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 2014. Adams was a law clerk for Judge Jeffrey V. Brown of the 55th District Court for Harris County from 2005 to 2008; a litigation associate of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Houston from 2009 to 2013; in private practice in Pearland from 2014 to 2015; and an attorney liaison in commercial case development at Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys in San Antonio from 2015 to 2018. He enjoyed traveling and photography, and was a certified auctioneer. Adams is survived by his wife of 15 years, Alla Adams; father, Wayne Adams; mother, Gerry Adams; and sister, Terri Coleman.


Jack C. Ogg

Jack OggOgg, 84, of Houston, died March 3, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962. Ogg was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1966 and the Texas Senate in 1973, serving two years as Senate President Pro Tempore. He worked at Merrill, Capps & Ogg; was a partner in Sowell & Ogg in Houston from 1975 to 1983; and was the founder of Jack Ogg & Associates in Houston from 1983 to 2008 and the Ogg Law Firm in Houston from 2008 to 2018. Ogg enjoyed travel, politics, and public service. He is survived by his son, Jon C. Ogg; daughter, attorney Kim C. Ogg; brothers, Larry Ogg and Jim Ogg; and three grandchildren.


Paul Clarence Murphy III

Paul MurphyMurphy, 81, of Houston, died February 26, 2018. He attended the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964. Murphy was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was stationed at the U.S. Army Military Police School in Augusta, Georgia, after graduating from law school. Murphy worked in insurance defense with Clawson & Jennings in Houston; was a partner in Malone & Murphy in Houston and Huntsville starting in 1972; was appointed to a six-year term as a member of the Texas Judicial Council by Gov. William Clements; was elected to the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston in 1980 and named chief justice of the court by Gov. George W. Bush in 1995, serving until his retirement in 2001. He was president of Sam Houston Landmark Title Company and a mediator and arbitrator for Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services. Murphy was a skilled and avid golfer, playing many courses in the Houston area, as well as several in Scotland, including Turnberry and St Andrews. He restored a 1961 Triumph TR3 Roadster and continued musical pursuits throughout his life. Murphy is survived by his wife of 20 years, Rita Murphy; son, attorney Paul C. “Pat” Murphy IV; stepson, Cory Seelen; daughter, Kelly Young; stepdaughter, Kricket Pingeon; sisters, Barbara Murphy and Kathy Keller; and eight grandchildren.


James F. Byrne

James ByrneByrne, 77, of Essex, Connecticut, died December 12, 2017. He received his law degree from Fordham Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2010. Byrne was also admitted to practice in Connecticut in 1966 and New York. He was an associate of Cravath in New York, New York; a partner in Ribicoff & Kotkin in Hartford, Connecticut; a partner in Byrne, Slater, Shulman & Rouse in Hartford from 1982 to 1991; and a partner in Byrne & Storm in Hartford from 1991 to 2017. Byrne received the Lex Innovatio Award in 2013. He enjoyed history and playing golf, and was an avid reader. Byrne is survived by his wife of 35 years, attorney Christina Storm; sons, attorney James R. Byrne and solicitor Preston J. Byrne; daughter, Elizabeth Byrne; sister, Catherine O’Keefe; and three grandchildren.


Philip Foster Franklin

Phil FranklinFranklin, 56, of Dallas, died June 3, 2014. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987. Franklin was an associate of Jones Day in Dallas from 1987 to 1992 and he focused on real estate and oil and gas law.TBJ

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