Baylor Mourns Former Law Dean and 'Legal Giant' Justice Charles W. Barrow

  • News Photo 3605
    Judge Charles W. Barrow
  • News Photo 3606
    Judge Charles Barrow, right, with fellow Baylor law graduate and former Texas Gov. Mark White.
June 27, 2006

Media contact: Alan Hunt, associate director of media relations, (254) 710-6271

Judge Charles W. Barrow, a former Texas Supreme Court Justice who served seven years as dean of Baylor Law School, passed away peacefully in the company of family members on Sunday, June 25. He was 84.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, Garden Chapel, 825 E. Basse Road in San Antonio,.with the Rev. Donna Strieb officiating. A reception following the service will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Towers Club, One Towers Park Lane in San Antonio.

Justice Barrow was born in Poteet, Texas, to Hunter and Ozella Crouch Barrow. His parents were each from pioneering families in Atascosa County. His father served as a District and Court of Appeals judge until his death in 1962. Justice Barrow graduated from Baylor Law School in 1943, and immediately entered service in the United States Navy. He participated in the Normandy invasion, and earned seven battle stars after service in the European and Pacific theaters. He also was a veteran of the Korean War, retiring as a full Navy captain and serving in the Navy reserves. He married the former Sugie Williams of Hindes, Texas, in August 1943 in the First Baptist Church of Charlotte, Texas.

After practicing law in San Antonio for 15 years, Justice Barrow began his service to the State of Texas in 1959 as Judge of the 45th District Court. He subsequently served as Associate and later, Chief Justice of the Fourth Court of Appeals from 1962-1977. In 1977, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas and served on the state's highest court until 1984, when he became dean of the Baylor School of Law.

Justice Barrow, who was 62 at the time, assumed the position as dean on Oct. 1, 1984, from Angus S. McSwain Jr., who resigned after 19 years as dean to devote full-time attention to his "first love" - classroom teaching. Justice Barrow, after leading the law school to further growth and success during those seven years as dean, returned to San Antonio in 1991, serving as a Senior District Judge in Bexar and surrounding counties until his retirement.

He authored more than 700 judicial opinions involving many of the most far-reaching and historic cases in Texas jurisprudence. An obituary published in the Austin American Statesman stated, "He earned a reputation as one the hardest-working judges in Texas, all the while remaining true to his core values of integrity, honesty and humility. Whether speaking to a Texas governor or an old friend at the feed store, his remarkable gifts of country wisdom and common-sense thinking were well known and appreciated by all who were around Justice Barrow."

An obituary published in his hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, described him as "a legal giant in Texas."

Brad Toben, who succeeded Judge Barrow as dean of Baylor Law School in 1991, described him as a man of unmatched integrity, character and loyalty who rendered a lifetime of service to his state, nation and Baylor. "Judge Barrow was my valued friend and I had the pleasure of working closely with him for several years during his time as dean," he said. "The Judge had a passionate love for Baylor Law School and he took enormous pride in the quality of the program at Baylor and the impact of the Law School upon the profession and society through its graduates. He also had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed the art of story telling to the delight of his friends and colleagues. We are richer for having had him as our colleague during his years as dean of the Law School."

Some of the many awards received by Justice Barrow include Baylor University Distinguished Alumnus; Baylor Lawyer of the Year; Distinguished Jurist from St. Mary's University; Greenhill Judicial Award from the Texas Municipal Courts Association; and Atascosa County Comeback Farmer of the Year. He was a Thirty-Third Degree Mason, and held membership in the State Bar of Texas, San Antonio Bar Association, Texas Bar Foundation, Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, San Antonio Country Club, and many other groups and organizations.

Justice Barrow was predeceased by his son, Charles Wallace (Wally) Barrow Jr. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sugie Williams Barrow; and his sons, John Douglas Barrow of Corpus Christi; David Williams Barrow and wife, Irene, of Flagstaff, Ariz.; and James Hunter Barrow and wife, Alison, of San Antonio; eight grandchildren: Hunter Denson Barrow of Austin; Lucas Jackson Barrow of Austin; Justin Colter Barrow of San Antonio; Katie Elizabeth Barrow of San Francisco; Henry Galahad Barrow of Flagstaff, Ariz.; Travis Hunter Barrow of San Antonio; Scarlette Catherine Barrow of San Antonio; and Thomas Charles Barrow of San Antonio and one great-granddaughter, Breanna Barrow of San Antonio; his sister, Bea Little, and husband, Loftin Little, of San Antonio; and his brother-in-law, Sid Williams III, and wife, Linda Williams, of Pearsall; nephews, Glenn Devlin of Houston; Sid Williams IV of Pearsall; Stephen Williams of Pearsall; and nieces, Nancy Devlin, of Corpus Christi; and Eleanor Williams of San Antonio; and numerous cousins, grandnieces, grandnephews and their families.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that remembrances be made to a charity of one's choice.

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