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.
Donald Raymond Sterling
Sterling, 80, of Dallas, died September 3, 2017. He received his law degree from Northwestern Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970. Sterling was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1961. He was an attorney with Burlington Northern Railroad in Chicago from 1961 to 1968; an associate of and general counsel to Texas Instruments in Dallas from 1968 to 1986; head of Sterling & Jones in Dallas from 1986 to 1988; and vice president, secretary, and general counsel to Iomega in Roy, Utah, from 1988 to 1997. Sterling was a past chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Antitrust & Trade Regulation Section. He was honored by the Utah House of Representatives for his work with Avatar, and he received an award from Share the Harvest. Sterling was an artist, musician, and historian. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Toni Sterling; son, John Franklin Sterling; daughter, Deborah Lynn Benton; brother, David Sterling; and three grandchildren.
Tausch, 76, of San Antonio, died July 27, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1969, receiving a Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, and two Army Overseas Service Bars. Tausch was a professor of American history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976. Tausch was a solo practitioner in San Antonio. He was a Christian soldier, rancher, and writer. Tausch is survived by his wife of 33 years, Phyllis Keil Tausch, and sister, Clementine Hall.
Epps, 79, of Cypress, died October 1, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966. Epps was the owner of Ray Epps Law Office in Houston from 1966 to 2017 and in Leakey from 1982 to 1992 and county attorney for Real County in Leakey from 1982 to 1985. He received State Bar of Texas pro bono certificates and awards, was a State Bar representative to Russia, and helped form a court of record in Real County. Epps’ career was defined by his creed: “My word is my bond.” After family, his love was traveling the world with his wife and best friend, Dot. Epps practiced law until the day he died. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Dorothy “Dot” Epps; sons, Ray, Riley, and Bruce; daughters, Jill, Wendy, Tracy, and Cindy; brother, Jim Epps; sister, Gaye Mitschke; 18 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
Brinsmade, 94, of Wimberley, died July 27, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army. Brinsmade received his law degree from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951. He was an associate of and partner in Butler & Binion in Houston, and a partner in and senior counsel to Porter Hedges in Houston. Brinsmade served as the chairman of the American Bar Association Section of International Law in 1980-1981 and was on the councils of the American Society of International Law, the Inter-American Bar Association, and the State Bar of Texas International Law Section. He had a lifelong interest in history, antiques, and genealogy. Brinsmade is survived by his two daughters, Christine Tillman and Louisa Brinsmade; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
John “Gus” Larson
Larson, 56, of Austin, died April 11, 2018. He received his law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1994. Larson was a patent attorney with Motorola/Freescale in Austin from 1995 to 1998; a patent attorney with Markison & Reckamp in Austin from 1998 to 2002; a partner in Toler Larson & Abel in Austin from 2002 to 2006; and a partner in Larson Newman in Austin from 2006 to 2018. He loved his ranch in Lexington; was devoted to family, co-workers, and friends; was a University Interscholastic League and U.S. swim referee for 18 years; and enjoyed home-brewing beer. Larson is survived by his wife of 31 years, Katie; sons, Matthew, Eric, and Ryan; daughter, Anna; father, Wayne; and brothers, Andy and Joe.
Mark D. Haas
Haas, 60, of Conroe, died October 17, 2017. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1984. Haas was an attorney with Hope & Mayes in Conroe from 1984 to 1991; a partner in Mayes & Haas in Conroe from 1991 to 1997; part owner of Haas & Golemon in Conroe from 1997 to 2013; and owner of Haas Law Firm in Conroe from 2013 to 2017. He was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and was certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Haas was a triathlete, having completed the Ironman Triathlon three times and the XTERRA Triathlon. He was a devoted father and husband and a member of West Conroe Baptist Church. Haas is survived by his wife of 30 years, Marga Haas; son, Jaron Haas; daughter, Paige Haas; mother, June Haas; sister, Belinda Haas; and one grandchild.
Rhonda Amkraut Pressley
Pressley, 68, of Bastrop, died July 29, 2018. She received her law degree from Hofstra Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1981. Pressley was admitted to practice in New York state in 1975. She was an assistant attorney general in the New York State Attorney General’s Office from 1974 to 1977 in Albany and an assistant attorney general and chief of the Appellate Litigation Section of the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office in Austin from 1989 to 2007. Pressley loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren; studying legal and Talmudic text and psychology; and enjoyed going to musicals and plays. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, attorney Vann Duerant Pressley; daughters, Rysse Goldfarb, Alec Covey, and Shanna Bayer; stepson, Daniel Pressley; stepdaughter, Allison McFarland; brother, Jeffrey Amkraut; and 10 grandchildren.
Lafayette L. “L.L.” Duckett
Duckett, 99, of El Campo, died January 16, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1945. Duckett was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He served terms in the Texas House of Representatives starting in 1941, 1943, and 1945, served four years on the Texas Commission on Higher Education, and was a founder and partner in Duckett, Bouligny & Collins in El Campo from 1945 to 1980. Duckett was a director of the State Bar of Texas, president and board member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and president of the Wharton County Bar Association. He dedicated his life to the legal profession and was never idle. Duckett is survived by his daughter, attorney Faye Duckett Dettling; sisters, Abie Duckett Brownshadel and Willie Mae Tenison; nephews, attorneys Elton and Blake Brownshadel and Warren Armstrong; niece, attorney France Brownshadel Frederick; and two grandchildren.
Nicholas Peter Cariotis
Cariotis, 77, of Duncanville, died December 4, 2017. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969, serving in Vietnam and being honorably discharged as a major. Cariotis received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970. He was in private practice in criminal law in Austin, Dallas, and Duncanville from 1970 to 1994 and headed the white-collar crime division of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office from 1994 to 2011. Cariotis worked with his family’s business, Sports Novelties, a sports marketing firm; handled souvenirs for the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium; and served as a city councilman for Duncanville in the 1970s and 1980s. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Helen Cariotis; sons, Nicholas Stephen Cariotis and Stephen Alexander Cariotis; daughters, Anne-Marie Kristina Cariotis, Kristina Cariotis Vandenabeele, and Angela Sophia Cariotis; and four grandchildren.
Kenneth M. Jackson
Jackson, 81, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, died May 26, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962. Jackson was admitted to practice in Tennessee in 1991 and admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was director of contracts for Dynalectron in Washington, D.C., from 1965 to 1970 and worked for the Cost Accounting Standards Board in Washington from 1970 to 1974. Jackson worked as director of contracts for Bolt, Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1974 to 1981; director of contracts for Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, from 1980 to 1985; vice president and general counsel to Recon Optical in Barrington, Illinois, from 1985 to 1990; vice president and general counsel to Textron Aerostructures in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1990 to 1995. He worked for Neal & Harwell in Nashville from 1995 to 1998 and was a mediator/arbitrator in Nashville from 1998 to 2018. Jackson received the President Award from the Nashville Bar Association and was president of the National Contract Management Association and the Tennessee Chapter-Association of Corporate Counsel. He was interested in art, acting, and model railroading. Jackson is survived by his wife of 50 years, Judith “Judy” Jackson; and his son, Kenneth Davis Jackson.
Allan, 51, of North Richland Hills, died August 13, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1994. Allan was an attorney with Cramer & Allan from 1994 to 1998; with the Allan Firm in Grapevine from 1998 to 2015; and with Heygood, Orr & Pearson in Irving from 2015 to 2018. He was a devoted and loving father and husband and would do anything for his family and clients. Allan is survived by his wife of seven years, Christi Allan; sons, Max Allan and Taylor Allan; stepson, Ben Rodriguez; stepdaughters, Lily Rodriguez and Autumn Rodriguez; father, William Allan; mother, Jennifer Engle; and sisters, Barbara Mann, Louise Williams, and Sue Morley.
Joseph John LaBella
LaBella, 65, of The Woodlands, died July 7, 2018. He received his law degree from Vermont Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1990. LaBella was the owner of Joseph J. LaBella & Associates in Conroe from 1990 to 2018. He loved his wife, who he joined in heaven; enjoyed traveling; and being the best attorney he could be for his family. LaBella is survived by his son, Joseph John LaBella III; daughter, Lauren Alexis LaBella; mother, Marilyn Telzer; brother, Andrew LaBella; sister, Terry Meyerson; and two grandchildren.
Leonard, 80, of Kingsland, died July 24, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1959. Leonard was an attorney with Shannon & Shannon in Fort Worth and Leonard & Van Meter in Fort Worth and a judge on Tarrant County Criminal District Court No. 3 in Fort Worth. He served on the Tarrant County Criminal District Board, Board of Judges, Juvenile Board, and received the Silver Gavel Award from the Tarrant County Bar Association. Leonard enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing, and Longhorn football. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judith Leonard; daughters, Debbie Walker and Cindy Leonard; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Nelson, 67, of Lubbock, died July 18, 2018. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976. Nelson was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984. He was an assistant district attorney for the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office in Lubbock; in private practice in Big Spring and Lubbock; and joined his brother, Jack, to form Nelson & Nelson in Lubbock from 1981 to 2018. Nelson served on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice from 2008 to 2013; was a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct from 1989 to 1995 and chairman of the commission from 1991 to 1992; and was to be judge of the Lubbock County Court at Law No. 3 on January 1, 2019. He was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a longtime fundraiser and participant in the MS 150. Nelson and his wife, Ainsley, founded West Texas Endurance in 2012, which encourages active lifestyles and fitness in Lubbock. He loved sports and was an avid baseball fan. Nelson is survived by his wife, Ainsley; brother, attorney Jack; and sister, Jill.
Balasco, 99, of Houston, died June 23, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an intelligence officer for the 367th Fighter Group from 1941 to 1945. Balasco received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1947. He was a solo practitioner with a focus on civil litigation. Balasco was president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and was helpful to several young lawyers who were starting to establish their practices. He served on the Congregation Brith Shalom Board of Directors and was a member of Temple Emanu El. Balasco was blessed with a large number of loving friends and was a good friend to all of them. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, attorney Sybil Balasco.
Franklin W. Denius
Denius, 93, of Austin, died July 29, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946, taking part in the D-Day Invasion and receiving four Silver Stars, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, French Croix de Guerre, a Presidential Citation, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, and two Purple Hearts. Denius received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949. He was an attorney for Looney & Clark in Austin; a partner in Clark, Thomas, Denius, Winters & Harris in Austin; a solo practitioner starting in 1976, specializing in utility law, particularly in oil and gas industries; and president and chairman emeritus of Southern Union Company. Denius also served as counsel to numerous presidents of the University of Texas. He was president of the Cain Foundation; was one of the founders and organizers of the Texas Exes, receiving Distinguished Alumni and Santa Rita awards, serving as one of its first presidents; and was named the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Young Man of Austin in 1959. Denius is survived by his son, Wofford “Woffie” Denius; daughter, Charmaine D. McGill; and one grandchild.
Robert W. Lee
Lee, 70, of Tyler, died July 19, 2018. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1970 to 1976. Lee received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975. He was assistant city attorney for the city of Tyler from 1975 to 1978; an attorney with Lamar Neill in Tyler from 1978 to 1982 and with Gilbert & Lee in Tyler from 1982 to 1996; and a solo practitioner in Tyler from 1996 to 2016. Lee coached Little League, had a genuine interest in helping others, and was a sports enthusiast. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Vinni Mitchell Lee; sons, Jason Scott Lee and Gregory Mitchell Lee; daughters, Christa Lee Hagler and Traci Michelle Lee; sister, Sandra Kachel; and nine grandchildren.
Robert “Bob” Mahan Hardy Jr.
Hardy, 71, of Houston, died October 28, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974. Hardy was an attorney at Butler & Binion in Houston from 1974 to 1986; a partner in McConn & Hardy in Houston from 1986 to 1992; and in private practice from 1992 to 2017. He argued a patent case in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1998 and was successful in having the case remanded back to state court. Hardy was part of many cases reaching multimillion-dollar verdicts. He was the inventor and patent holder of Hardy Chair-Lok; loved his ranch in League City; and enjoyed sailing the ocean and boating on Clear Lake with his family. Hardy is survived by his sons, Travis R. Hardy, Andrew V. Hardy, and Benjamin E. Hardy; daughter, Anna Hardy Finger; sisters, Linda Hardy Lawson and Roberta Hardy Curtice; stepsisters, Vicky McNeely and Susan Lannon; and three grandchildren.
Charlotte A. Harris
Harris, 67, of Lubbock, died August 23, 2018. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978. Harris was CLE director at the University of Houston Law Center from 1979 to 1982; a solo practitioner focusing on criminal defense in Houston from 1982 to 1985; an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center from 1984 to 1985; Wichita County Public Defender in Wichita Falls from 1986 to 1988; an assistant district attorney in Tom Green County District Attorney’s Office in San Angelo from 1988 to 1990 and again in 1992; an associate of Lupton & Edwards in San Angelo in 1991; 51st District Attorney in San Angelo from 1993 to 1996; a partner in Harris & Brown in Alpine from 1997 to 1998; and an assistant federal public defender for the Western District of Texas in Alpine from 1999 to 2011. She was certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1987. Harris enjoyed reading, church activities, and spending time in northern New Mexico. She is survived by her sister, Georgia Harris.
Stephanie C. Kan
Kan, 29, of Houston, died April 1, 2018. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2016. She was an intern for Judge Mike Engelhart, of the 151st Civil District Court in Houston, and Judge Michael Gomez, of the 129th Civil District Court, in Houston; and a commercial litigator for Hoover Slovacek in Houston from 2016 to 2018. Kan was the articles editor for the Houston Law Review; her writing on net neutrality in the Houston Law Review was awarded Best Comment in the Area of Business Litigation. She competed on the Moot Court team and worked at the Transactional?Law Clinic. Kan enjoyed rock climbing, snowboarding, and creating modern art. She is survived by her father, Jiunying Kan; mother, Judy Kan; and sisters, Sherry and Annie Kan.
Robert Holton Dawson
Dawson, 81, of Midland, died August 24, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962. Between 1962 and 1974, Dawson was with Turpin, Smith & Bullock and Bullock &?Neely in Midland; he was a founding partner in Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson in Midland from 1974 to 2018. He was a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and the 2002 recipient of the Jim Bowmer Professionalism Award from the Texas Bar College. Dawson was an active member of his church. He was instrumental in founding a community-based seminar that promotes philosophy. Dawson was an avid scholar and a student of Civil War history. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Fran Dawson; son, attorney Bob Dawson Jr.; and two grandchildren.
Miguel Angel Méndez
Méndez, 74, of San Carlos, California, died May 25, 2017. He received his law degree from George Washington University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1968. Méndez was admitted to the California Bar in 1972. He was a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., from June 1968 to June 1969; a legislative assistant to the Office of U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston in Washington from September 1969 to July 1971; a staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Washington from June 1971 to June 1972; deputy director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation in Sacramento from June 1972 to September 1974; deputy public defender for the Monterey County Public Defender in Monterey, California, from June 1975 to December 1976; professor of law at Stanford Law School from 1977 to 2009 where he was Adelbert H.?Sweet Professor of Law chair and became professor emeritus in 2009; and a professor of law at UC Davis School of Law from 2009 to 2014. Méndez received numerous awards, including from the National Hispanic Bar Foundation, Legal Aid Society, and Public Advocates. He was honored with a California Assembly Resolution for his work and service as a professor and as a civil rights attorney. Méndez was a devoted mentor to undergraduate and law students, especially those underepresented in professions. He was a prolific legal scholar, especially in evidence. Méndez enjoyed hiking, bicycling, and physical fitness activities. He is survived by his ex-wife of 12 years, Victoria S. Diaz; daughters, Gabriela Méndez and Arabela Méndez; and sisters, Sylvia Holtzman and Delia Montesinos.
Alvin James Morales
Morales, 67, of Pflugerville, died June 19, 2017. He served in the U.S. Army until 1973 and received a Good Conduct Medal. Morales received his law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979. He was an attorney for Texas Rural Legal Aid, now Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, in Laredo from 1979 to 1984; an assistant county attorney in the Webb County Attorney’s Office in Laredo from 1985 to 1988; an assistant municipal court judge in Laredo from 1984 to 1985; in private practice in Laredo from 1985 to 1998; a municipal court judge in Laredo from 1990 to 1998; and judge of Webb County Criminal Court at Law 1 in Laredo from 1999 to 2014. Morales was treasurer for the Laredo Bar Association, a mediator for Webb County District Courts, and received the Reginald Heber Smith Award. He was known for his communication and analytical skills. Morales was a History Channel buff and a Green Bay Packers fan. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Elizabeth G. Morales; daughters, Marisa Morales and Raquel M. Leal; brothers, Bobby Morales and Julian Morales; sisters, Lourdes Cortes, Olga Morales, Rosalie Minguez, Veronica Morales, and Denise Morales; and one grandchild.TBJ