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Alumni Obituaries

These notices were received after Aug. 30, 2012

Clarence O. Bentley (JD ’48) passed away on Aug. 30, 2012. He was born Oct. 14, 1921, the son of Sallie and Fieldon Bentley of Eddy. Clarence received a BA degree from Baylor University in 1943, a BBA degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from Baylor Law School in 1948. He practiced law in Dallas for 64 years, where he served as president of the Dallas Bar Association. On Nov. 10, 1951 he married Mary Jo Ellis, his wife of more than 60 years. They were active members of First Baptist Church Dallas, where he was a deacon for 56 years. He owned several farms and ranches, but his greatest investments were in his family, friends and the Lord he served. He was a kind Christian man of integrity, with a wonderful sense of humor. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Jo; daughter, Sally DeBoard; grandchildren, Robert and Emily; son, Ellis Bentley; and grandsons, Hunter and Brayden of Rockwall. He was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law, Greg DeBoard; brothers, Leslie, Reuben, Milton; and sister, Merle Jones.


Larry Ray Brandon (LLB ’67) of Amarillo passed away Aug. 15, 2012. Brandon was born in Loma Linda, Calif., on March 8, 1939 to Lewis Fields Brandon and Claire Littleton Brandon. The family soon moved to Canyon, where Brandon attended Canyon schools, graduating from Canyon High School and West Texas State University. From 1957 to 1963, Brandon served in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Division, Texas National Guard in Canyon. He attained the rank of Sergeant F5. Upon an honorable discharge, Brandon enrolled at Baylor Law School, graduating in 1967, and began his career as an attorney. He was highly respected in his field and served the city of Amarillo as an assistant city attorney and first assistant city attorney. He was also a lecturer and presenter for the Texas Association of Assessing Officers on topics such as delinquent tax collection and an array of continuing legal education programs. He was admitted to practice law before the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; and U.S. Supreme Court. Brandon was a founding partner of Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins and Mott, LLP, Attorneys at Law. He held professional memberships in the Texas Association of Assessing Officers, Texas Tax Assessors Association, Amarillo Bar Association, American Bar Association, State Bar of Texas and Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity. Brandon held an AV preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He served on the legal advisory board for the Texas Association of Counties. He was honored with TAAO Member of the Year, North Plains Chapter, 2004, and a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow. Aside from a distinguished career within his avocation, Brandon greatly enjoyed traveling the world, reading and researching the stock market. Above all, he loved his family and attending all his grandchildren’s activities and events. To those who knew and loved him, Brandon was generous, kind, considerate and loved a good laugh. He was a good provider to his family and had a philanthropic nature for the community in which he worked and lived. Brandon was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law, Carolyne Glanton Brandon. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Tina Lynne Brandon; his children, Tracy Brandon Tucker and husband, Jeff Tucker, of Fort Worth; Erin Beth Pingelton and husband, Jerod Pingelton, of Dumas; Dr. Todd Whitehead and wife, Gerri Whitehead, of Amarillo; Timothy Michael Fleming and wife, Dr. Sarah Fleming, of San Diego; 10 loving grandchildren, McKenzie Saige Tucker, Caitlin Sterling Tucker, Jackson Cole Tucker, David Neil Pingelton, Jordan Andrew Pingelton, Ryan Todd Whitehead, Raegan Thomas Whitehead, Reed Tucker Whitehead, Margaret Elizabeth Fleming and Katherine Claire Fleming; his brothers, David Arthur Brandon of Boulder, Colo., John Steven Brandon and wife, Deanna, of Arizona; nieces, Jessica Rudisel, Jaime Looger; nephew, Jordan Brandon of Amarillo; sisters-in-law, Dona Howe of Shreveport, Diane Spradlin of Dallas; and loving nieces, nephews and cousins.


John Virgil Cottle III (JD ’59) of Austin passed away on Friday, July 27, 2012, at age 76 at his home in Austin surrounded by his loving family. After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, he was received into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Cottle was born on March 31, 1936 in Waco to Mary Alice Washington Cottle and John Virgil Cottle Jr. He worked as general counsel and vice president of refining for Diamond Shamrock and Valero for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Sammye, retired in Austin to be near their children and grandchildren. Cottle was an active member of the First Evangelical Free Church in Austin. He loved his family and his family adored him. His impact on the lives of his family members is immeasurable. He will be greatly missed. Survivors include his wife, Sammye Kinkade Cottle of Austin; son, Chuck Cottle and his wife, Michele, their children, Lindsey, Madeline, and Logan; daughter, Mary Ellen Doak, and her husband, Philip, and their children Andrew, Molly and Spencer Doak, all of Austin; his brother, David Cottle, and his wife, Carolyn, of Florida.


Jasper G. Harris Jr. (JD ’70) passed away on Aug. 30, 2012. He was 66. Born in Jackson, Miss., on Sept. 6, 1945, Harris was the beloved only child of Jasper G. Harris Sr. and Orna J. Harris, née Fortenberry. He was their late-life baby and they are rejoicing to have their son with them again. Harris was a 1963 graduate of William P. Murrah High School in Jackson. He served his country as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry enlisting, in 1968. Private Harris was stationed at Ft. Benning, Ga., and Ft. Dix, NJ. Harris received citations as an M14 sharpshooter and expert M16 marksman. He also earned the U.S. Army Parachutist Badge, having made 24 jumps. Harris received an honorable discharge from the Army Reserve in August 1974. He moved to Waco in 1963 to attend Baylor University. He was a proud Baylor graduate, having earned a BA in history in 1967 and his Juris Doctorate in 1970. He earned admission to the Texas State Bar in 1970 and practiced law in the Houston metropolitan area for the next 40 years. He worked as a staff attorney in the reimbursement division for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation from1986-1992. Harris opened his own general law practice specializing in criminal law until his retirement in August 2010. Harris has one son, Michael Chadwick Harris, with his first wife, Mary Elizabeth née Warren. An avid sports enthusiast, Harris enjoyed many years with his son on the playing fields of the Alief Youth Association (AYA) managing T-ball, championship Little League teams (All Star Division Championship) and Pony League (All Star Team). He coached the AYA Vikings football team to a championship. He also coached the YMCA basketball team, the Gobots. Harris always believed in community work. He served as the president of the Alief/Southwest Chamber of Commerce and was also the president of Alief Noon Lions’ Club. He was elected to the Alief ISD Board of Trustees. Harris was a member of the Baylor University Law School Alumni Association and participated in the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Association. He also volunteered and sponsored numerous events for the Midtown Management District. A running enthusiast, he enjoyed participating in numerous long-distance runs benefiting area charities. He faithfully ran nine miles a week for years and took excellent care of his body. Harris enjoyed traveling, especially to the mountains and any place that was cold. Highlights of his travels include England, Canada, and much of the U.S. He traveled to Canada numerous times and always attended hockey games while visiting. He went to Alaska in the winter of 2003 and rode part of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. Harris loved anything sports related and he carefully planned his Saturdays during the college sports season around game day. Another hobby Harris enjoyed was politics, especially during election season. By chance in 2004, Harris met the love of his life, Cynthia. Together they traveled, enjoyed the company of friends and family, ate at the very best restaurants and shared wonderful times. Together, with unwavering love and faith, they walked on his tumultuous journey home, because this is what it means to be married and in love. The couple is blessed with dear friends and family, who made Harris’ 66th birthday a very special event. For all the love, the prayers, the friendship circle, the birthday cards, the champagne and visits, thank you with all of our hearts. Cynthia sought out only the very best care for her husband. The family would like to thank the renowned Gustavo C. Román, M.D., director, Alzheimer & Dementia Center Methodist Neurological Institute, director of the Nantz National Alzheimer Center and a Jack S. Blanton Distinguished Endowed Chair at the Methodist Neurological Institute; the amazing Therese Bilnoski and the entire Methodist Team; the exceptional Dr. Deepti Mishra of the Memorial Hermann System for her dedication to quality care; Deborah Harney, Pat Arp, and the staff of The Hampton; and Griswold Special Care for the outstanding quality care. The family also would like to thank Harris’ personal angel, Ada Farlough, the person who impacted Harris’ quality of life in a most positive way after his wife, Cynthia. In addition, the family sends thanks to Hallmark Hospice, Laura Howard, Joanie Taylor, Baywood Crossing, Pasadena and all the wonderful CNAs and aides, you were with him to the end and paved the way for us to say goodbye. Harris is survived by his wife of five years, Cynthia Alvarado; his son, Michael Chadwick “Chad” Harris of Richmond; first cousin, Catherine Bates of Forest, Miss.; his best friend, H. Clay Moore; Squire Lex; and numerous close family friends.


H. Kelly “Pat” Ireland III (JD ’69)
passed away Oct. 3, 2012. He was 70 years old and had battled multiple sclerosis for more than 25 years. Ireland was born in Houston on Sept. 20, 1942, to Hanson K. Ireland Jr. and Kathryn Ireland. He grew up in Houston and graduated from Midland High School in 1960. At The University of Texas at Austin he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, played baseball and was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. He married Nancy Conner of Midland in 1965, and while she taught elementary school, Ireland attended Baylor Law School and received his J.D. in 1969. Eager to do trial work, from 1969 to 1970 he served as a briefing attorney for the Hon. K.K. Woodley, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He then worked as assistant district attorney for two years in Travis County and ultimately came to Tyler as an assistant U.S. Attorney. In 1975, Ireland joined the distinguished Potter firm in Tyler and became a partner practicing civil defense. In 1984, he became founding partner in the firm of Ireland, Carroll and Kelley and continued his practice as a trial lawyer until 1996. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1985, and when his condition began to deteriorate so that trial work was too physically demanding, he became one of the first lawyers in Tyler to be trained in mediation by the State Bar of Texas. He enjoyed mediating both state and federal cases until his medical retirement in 2000. Ireland and his wife, Nancy, raised two daughters, Kelly and Patricia, in Tyler. He was active in the community and was a member of Marvin United Methodist Church, where he served on the administrative board. He also served on the board of Parents Anonymous. He was a resource lawyer for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, and received an Outstanding Service Award for his efforts as a member of The University Health Science Center at Tyler Institutional Review Board Committee from 1996 to 2009. In 2010, he Ireland received the prestigious Justinian Award from the Smith County Bar Foundation for outstanding community service, legal ethics and professionalism. Ireland was an avid baseball fan and enjoyed following the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals. In spite of his frustrating illness, he is remembered for his gregarious nature and sense of humor. Ireland is survived by his wife, Nancy; his two daughters, Kelly Ireland of Los Angeles, Calif., and Patricia Ireland Garza of San Antonio; his sons-in-law, Matthew Lambro and Joe Garza; his three granddaughters, Camryn Elizabeth Garza, Kathryn Ruth "Kacie" Garza and Camille Ireland Garza; and many dear friends whom he considered family.


Len Gardner “Tuffy” McCormick (LLB ’52) accomplished oilman, rancher, member of the Baylor Bears Final Four Basketball Team, NFL football player for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Colts, died Aug. 20, 2012 in his home at the age of 89. McCormick was born in Eldorado on Oct. 28, 1922 to Jimmie and Van McCormick and was an only child. He grew up in a pioneering ranching family in Eldorado. His grandparents, P.H. and Sally McCormick, were one of the founding families of Schleicher County. After graduating from high school in Eldorado, McCormick attended Schreiner Military Institute in Kerrville. As a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, he served his country first in World War II from 1942 to 1945 and then in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952. Between his military services he graduated from Baylor University in 1947. At Baylor, he played center, linebacker and placekicker for the Baylor Bears football team. He was also the center for Baylor’s basketball team that won the Southwest Conference Championship and played in the 1946 NCAA Final Four. This was the first time Baylor ever appeared in the NCAA Tournament. After college, he played for the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Colts as a linebacker and center for two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Sammy Baugh and Y. A. Tittle. During the off-season, he managed to attend Baylor Law School and received his law degree in 1952. His first job after Korea was as city attorney for Midland at a time of great excitement and growth. Continuing his love of sports, he was a participant of the Midland Misfits, a group of young Midland businessmen who got together on weekends to play football against other towns. The team included former NFL stars, weekend athletes, future business and government leaders and even a future President -- George H. W. Bush. Harnessing the opportunities of Midland, McCormick set up a private law practice and started his career in the energy business. He became the chairman and president of Santiago Oil and Gas, Santana Petroleum Company and Gold Metal Consolidation Mining Company, which later merged with Tom Brown Oil Company. He was active in Midland charities such as the YMCA, and was a club president of the minor league baseball team the Midland Indians. Returning to his roots in ranching, he purchased the Big Bend Ranch in 1958. Listed as one of the 12 largest ranches in North America, it contained 320,000 acres and 650 miles of fencing. Today, a large part of the ranch makes up the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Most importantly, McCormick will always be remembered for the time, care, advice and great energy he gave to everyone, both on the phone and through his memorable imposing presence. Many people from all walks of life sought his sage advice and encouragement. His favorite slogan was "Mount up and get it done!" He was pre-deceased by his loving wife, Vera Lu Sumner Blanton McCormick, to whom he was happily married for 20 years; and her daughter, Kathy Blanton. After the passing of his wife, he spent nine wonderful years with his beloved companion, whom he was predeceased by, Betty DeMontrond. He was the proud father of Marlee McCormick and Van McCormick (married to Tina Jurgens-McCormick), and the proud grandfather of a total of nine grandchildren, Shelby, Sidney, Calli and Casey Padgett, as well as Max, Alex, Myles, Nathaniel and Amelia McCormick. Other surviving family members include Lea DeMontrond and George DeMontrond III (married to Marilyn DeMontrond) and their children, Melissa and George DeMontrond IV; Chuck and Danny Blanton; Gail Cusack (married to Greg Cusack) and their children, Thomas, Daniel, Matthew and Ava Cusack; as well as Kathy Blanton’s children, Kristan, Travis, Cameron and Karli. He also is survived by his cousins and his best friends, Steve and Carolyn Mafrige.


Judge Larry Weldon Starr (LLB, ’60)
of Longview passed away on June 20, 2012. He was born on June 23, 1932 in Elkhart. The youngest of nine children, he received his early education in Waco until his family returned to Elkhart. He played football for the state regional champion 1949 Elkhart Elks, as well as the bi-district champion 1950 team. Starr graduated Elkhart High School as valedictorian of the class of 1950 and received a Naval ROTC scholarship to attend the University of Louisville in Kentucky. After graduating with a B.A. in mathematics, he served as a naval aviator and navigator in the U.S. Navy from 1954 until 1957. Starr then attended Baylor Law School, where he received the Bachelor of Laws degree (later Juris Doctor) in 1960. He spent the first six years of his private law practice at the Houston law firm of Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman, Bates & Jaworski. While in Houston, he met and married Nancy Elizabeth Ogletree (B.A. ’61) of Griffin, Georgia on June 26, 1963. He moved to Longview in 1966 to join Kenley, Boyland, Hawthorn, Starr & Coghlan as a partner. Starr spent the last two years of a 20-year practice as a partner with the firm of Sharp, Ward, Ross, McDaniel and Starr. In 1981, Starr was appointed as the first judge of the County Court at Law of Gregg County, an office in which he served for five years. He was elected as the second judge of the 188th Judicial District Court and presided over that court for nine years. In 1996, then Texas Gov. George W. Bush appointed him as the first Republican to serve as justice of the Texarkana Court of Appeals. Starr was the first Gregg County resident in several decades to serve on any of the Texas appellate courts. After retiring, Starr continued to serve as a visiting judge on the Texas Courts of Appeals and as a visiting trial judge in several East Texas counties. Starr’s family has been actively involved at the First Baptist Church in Longview for decades, where Starr sang in the choir. He also enjoyed traveling, reading and music and was an avid basketball fan of his beloved Louisville Cardinals and both the men’s and women’s Baylor basketball teams. Starr is survived by Nancy, their three children and spouses, nine grandchildren, one sister, and many nieces and nephews. His children and their families are: Mike (BA ’86, JD ’89) and Sarah Rutherford Starr (BA ’88, MA ’90) and Elizabeth, Emily and Matthew of Tyler; Jeff and Ellen Bullock Starr and Emma, Anna Mary and Rebecca of Walnut Creek, Calif.; David (JD ’93) and Jenny Starr McCumber (BA ’90, JD ’93) and Will, Michael and Andrew of Los Alamos, N.M. Elizabeth, the Starrs’ oldest grandchild, is a freshman at Baylor.


Walker Don Weathers (JD ’83)
passed away July 16, 2012. Weathers was born in Columbus, Miss., on Aug. 21, 1957, and attended school in Tyler. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1975, before continuing his education at Abilene Christian University, where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1979. In 1983, he completed his formal education at Baylor Law School. Weathers returned to Tyler to pursue the practice of law and his love of aviation. He was admitted to practice law before the U.S District Court, Eastern District of Texas; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and the U.S. States Supreme Court. While in law school at Baylor, Weathers met Rhonda Marie Sylvester, the love of his life and wife of 28 years. He was a second-year law student and she was a senior. He saw her in the student union building and came over to introduce himself. Walker was a proud father. He and Rhonda have two children, Ross Walker Weathers and Grace Marie Weathers. Both of their children are students at the University of Texas at Austin, studying business and education respectively. Ross received his private pilot’s license on Aug. 21, 2008, 31 years and one day after his father. On July 18, 1978, Weathers took his first flight lesson in Boulder, Colo. After immediately discovering his passion for aviation, he received his private pilot’s license 32 days later. He also earned his helicopter license and was a charter member of the Tyler QB Hangar. Weathers worked with many aircraft organizations and was fortunate enough to fly diverse aircraft, flying many interesting people from all walks of life, as well as numerous sports franchises, including the Texas Rangers and Houston Rockets. He was also a captain of the Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff’s posse. After graduation from law school, Weathers went to work for the Saunders Law Firm in Tyler. He was a general practice lawyer and was with the firm until 1990, when he and his brother, Wade, began their own practice and started the Weathers and Weathers law firm. He was active in his Tyler practice and worked as the vice president and general counsel for The Wikert Group out of Dallas. Weathers was an outstanding advocate for his clients both inside and outside the court room, and was well respected by judges and his fellow lawyers. Weathers was actively involved as a member of the West Erwin Church of Christ. He served as a deacon, a member of the missions committee, and was also a Sunday school teacher. He served on the board of directors for Boles Home, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ross Walker. Weathers had an adventuresome spirit and loved the outdoors and wildlife. Some of his favorite pastimes were spent at his deer camp in McCullough County, and tending to his farm and livestock. More important to Weathers than his professional or personal accomplishments was his family. He was well known as the “peacemaker” of the family and voted the “nicest uncle.” He will be remembered for his great honesty, integrity, patience and calmness in the midst of chaos. He was a leader for the family and everyone else who knew him. Many times throughout his life Weathers anonymously and generously gave to others in need. Weathers loved the Lord and served him diligently. Weathers touched the lives of many people, both young and old, with his quiet ways and sense of humor. He enjoyed working with people of all ages and backgrounds. It did not matter if you only had a nickel or a million, he would always treat you the same. He was known for always finding the good in those around him. Weathers is survived by his loving wife, Rhonda, and his two children, Grace and Ross; parents, Wanda and Don Weathers; brothers, Wade Weathers and his wife, Diane, and their children Caroline, Katherine and Rebecca; and Wynne Weathers and his wife, Kristi, and his children Wendy and Will. Weathers is also survived by his father- and mother-in-law, Bill and Wanda Sylvester; sister-in-law, Cindy Tye; his favorite uncle, Rex Walker of Boulder, Colo.; and many others who loved him dearly.


Wade Tyler “Ty” Wilson (JD ’05) of Dallas passed away Sept. 13, 2012. He leaves to cherish his memory his beloved wife, Miranda; parents, Kitty and Swinford Wilson; brother, Taylor Wilson; and grandparents, Fay and Johnny Pavlica. Also, in-laws, Laurie and Tom Anger; aunts and uncles, Sherry and Jim Cattan, Penny and Johnny Pavlica, Gay and Jim Jordan, and Tom Ayars; cousins Cy and Allison Cattan, Cristy and Stephen Lawrence, Ian Pavlica, Hannah and Scott Davis, Michael and Wendy Jordan, and numerous other family members and loved ones. Wilson was born on July 16, 1980 and brought joy to his family from the first day he was placed in their arms. He attended Victoria High School, where he played football and golf, was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and graduated Salutatorian of his 1999 class. In the speech to his class he quoted 1 Corinthians 9:24: “In a race, all of the runners run, but only one will get the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize.” He attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, where he double majored in psychology and religion and graduated in three years. His proudest achievement his first year there was to obtain a charter with four close friends to start a chapter on that campus of the Christian fraternity, Kappa Upsilon Chi. He was accepted to Baylor Law School and graduated with his Doctor of Jurisprudence in May 2005. He started his own practice, W. Ty Wilson Law Office, where he practiced in Burleson, near Dallas. In an earlier time, Wilson would have been an adventurer/explorer in unknown lands. He never lost his enthusiasm for new places. There weren’t enough hours in the day for him to accomplish all that he wanted to do. He loved his family and friends beyond words and had a gentle way of helping someone in need and explaining all sides of an argument. He did have an opinion about everything and would share it if asked. He was always the energizer, always driven, always thoughtful, always caring, always tolerant and almost always optimistic. We know by the journals he kept his knowledge of his shortcomings, his love of scripture, and depth of faith. We will remember someone who could make anything fun, who was incredibly witty and smart, loving, and forgiving. He left us such a legacy in his short time with us. We know he had God in his heart and pray that he was in God’s hand the moment he left this earth.

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