In Memoriam | September 2016



Hon. Takashi Kitaoka, LLB '40

Full Obituary Available Here




Elven Lloyd "Hut" Raulston, JD '50

Elven Lloyd "Hut" Raulston passed away peacefully at the age of 92, on August 24, 2016 at his home, in Van, Texas.

"Hut" Raulston was born December 29, 1923 in Goodlett, Texas to the late Guy S. and Daisy Raulston. He served proudly as a corporal in the US Army during WWII in the Pacific. Hut received his law degree from Baylor Law School and later worked 32 years for Shell Oil Company in Houston as manager of employee relations. He served as a Deacon at First Baptist Church in Pasadena California. After moving to Van, in 1985, Hut served as mayor of Van from 1994 to 2006 and was a member of Van United Methodist Church. Hut's favorite thing to do was travel with his family and beloved dogs, and he had visited 48 of the 50 states. The two things he would want to be remembered about him the most, were that he was a Christian and he loved his family dearly.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Alton Raulston in 1940, and his daughter-in-law, Kelsie Raulston in 2012.

Survivors include his wife, Glinda Raulston of Van; sons, John Raulston of Van, Dwight Raulston and wife, Elva of Houston, and step-son, Michael Collins and wife, Gayle of Houston; brother-in-law, Joe Pritchett of Murchison; grandchildren, Michael Collins and wife, Jacky and Crissy Joyce and husband, Thad; great-grandchildren, Kodi, Kaden and Macey; nephew, Aaron Pritchett and wife, Brandy; and niece, Holly Smith and husband, Michael.




Curtis W. "Bill" Fenley, Jr., JD '56

Curtis W. "Bill" Fenley, Jr., JD '56, passed away August 7, 2016. He was born in Gilmer, Texas December 15, 1933 to Curtis and May Vaughn Fenley. Bill grew up in Lufkin where he graduated from Lufkin High School in 1950. He attended Baylor University and Baylor School of Law. Bill married his high school sweetheart, Jerry Chastain Fenley of Lufkin, who was also attending Baylor University, on May 29, 1955. He was attending the University of Virginia School of Law for graduate studies in tax law when he was called and served three year in U.S. Air Force. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Department of the US Air Force stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi until his discharge in 1959.

Bill returned to Lufkin to join his father in the practice of Fenley & Fenley Law Firm. The law firm eventually evolved to Fenley & Bate, LLP with his longtime friend and partner, Herman Bate. Over the years of practice he was known and respected as a gentleman lawyer that cared about the best interest of his clients. His practice was focused on helping people in business, real estate and trust and estates. He was recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estates Counsel, Texas Bar Foundation and American Bar Association. He served as president of the East Texas Bar Association, president of the Angelina County Bar Association and as a director of the State Bar of Texas and Texas Young Lawyers Association. He retired from the active practice in 2000 after a lengthy medical condition.

Bill was also devoted in his faith and to his church. He served on numerous committees of First Baptist Church of Lufkin, taught Sunday School to young married couples and created the Barnabas Class, worked with youth and sang in the choir. He was elected as a deacon and trustee at First Baptist and was appointed to and served on the board of directors and numerous committees for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. For many years he traveled with the Now Generation of First Baptist Church on mission trips across the nation.

He was also active in and loved his community. Inspired by his father, Bill was involved in many areas of service within Angelina County. He served as President of the Board of the Lufkin-Angelina Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Lufkin Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Award recipient. Bill was a director of the Baylor Alumni Association. He served on the Board of Directors of Lufkin Federal Savings and Loan and Lufkin National Bank/First City National Bank.

Most important to Bill was his family and friends. Activities with his wife, family and friends were the joy of his life. Whether skiing in Colorado with family, hiking the Appalachian Trail or Pecos Wilderness with family and friends, traveling to the Pacific Coast in an RV, raising and showing Appaloosa horses or exploring golf courses around the world in the International Rotary Fellowship of Golf, he treasured the time spent with his family and friends.

Through all of his adventures, Bill will always be remembered as a kind soul, a man who cared about and extended dignity and respect to all and who lived a life of true integrity.

Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jerry; his son and daughter-in-law, Curt & Jule Fenley of Lufkin; daughter, Leslie Hicks of Waco; and daughter, Carol Gilbert of Tyler. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, William Graydon Hicks, Nate Hicks and Emily Hicks; Ben Gilbert, Alex Gilbert and Eli Gilbert; and Anne Fenley, William Fenley and Mary Margaret Fenley; and great grandson, Garrett Hicks. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Jay Ford, Mary Jane Tomlinson, Jennifer Crosby and Tom Erwin. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Margaret Ford.




Franklin George Tucker, JD '64

Franklin George Tucker was born November 8, 1933 and passed away Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Frank was a resident of Gunter, Texas. He was a graduate of the University of Arkansas and Baylor Law School. He was commissioned as an artillery officer in the United States Army and served in the Army Reserve for eight years. He was married to Dolores.




Turner W. Branch, JD '65

Turner W. Branch, was born August 22, 1938 in Houston, Texas to James and Juanita Branch. After a lengthy illness, he died in Phoenix, AZ August 4, 2016 at the age of 77. In addition to Margaret Moses Branch, Turner's wife, friend and law partner, he is survived by Brian Branch and his wife Dawn Chavez Branch, children Nicholas and Samuel; Rebecca Branch and her husband Clyde DeMersseman, children Victoria and Branch DeMersseman; brother James Branch and wife Joni; sister Virginia Branch-Perret. He was predeceased by his parents and sister Nancy Huitt.

In 1956 Turner graduated from the Marist School in Atlanta. In 1960 he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico where he was student body president and a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honors Society. He was also a member and remained active throughout his life in the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

Turner was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on active duty at Quantico, VA. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Ca. and joined the Second Battalion of Fifth Marines, First Marine Division where he served for three and a half years.

After an honorable discharge in 1963, he graduated in 1965 from Baylor Law School, where he was a section editor of the Law Review. He received the T.R. McDonald Award as the outstanding student at the Law School. He served as chairman of the Student Grievance Committee, was selected to Omicron Delta Kappa and to the International Legal Fraternity of Phi Delta Phi.

He returned to Albuquerque, N.M. to practice law in 1965. He was a member of the State Bars of New Mexico, Colorado and Texas and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He also served the state he loved as a N.M. State Legislator.

Turner was the founder of the Branch Law Firm, one of the oldest personal injury firms in New Mexico, and has been known for taking on challenging, complex and controversial cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, as well as catastrophic class actions and mass torts against pharmaceutical companies on a national and international basis. He was a board recognized Specialist as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the State of New Mexico. He has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist since 1984; a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Diplomat in the American Board of Trial Advocates; and has served on their Board of Directors. He authored and contributed to numerous articles, books and speeches in the field of personal injury and spoken to trial attorney associations nationally.

Named Baylor Law School Lawyer of the Year, Turner was also instrumental in shaping New Mexico law. In 1976 he was lead counsel in the land-mark decision of Hicks v. The State of New Mexico, which for the first time allowed injured individuals to recover damages for the wrongful conduct of the State. Turner also represented the State of New Mexico in litigation against the big tobacco companies. Recently, the Branch Law Firm argued successfully that the discovery rule should apply to the statute of limitations governing product liability and medical malpractice cases.

One of Turner's favorite roles was that of grandpa, or Poppi as his grandchildren called him. He took time from his busy schedule to go to his grandchildren's plays, football games, lacrosse games, soccer games, basketball games, concerts, science fairs and many other events, too numerous to mention. Whenever one of his grandchildren came into the room, Turner's face would light up with love and pride. He loved them with all his heart.

Other than his family, his dogs and the law, Turner's greatest love was the UNM Lobos, he was also part owner of KQTM, (101.7 FM) the City's ESPN Radio affiliate. In 2012, the Branches donated $1.5 million to the University of New Mexico athletic department. The field is named in their honor. Lobo Football Coach Bob Davie observed "I knew the moment I met him that he was different and he was unique. He's been relentlessly good to the people of New Mexico, and particularly the University of New Mexico and the athletic department."

Turner defined success as "giving it your very best at all times and letting others judge the results without paying attention to what the "the judges say one way or the other; but at all times keeping your eye on the objectives for and on behalf of the client. Unfortunately success is measured by the accumulation of wealth. If you're doing well financially you're successful. I don't think this is a judge of success or not. I think success is being able to know you've given it your very best and looking in a rearview mirror of life and saying I did my best – "that's success." Using that definition Turner was a success in every aspect of his life.

To Turner, family meant a lot more than a relative by blood or marriage. It means the people who accept you no matter who you are, where there's no hatred or judgment. The love of a family should be unconditional, and everyone should try their best to provide all they can for the people in their family, emotionally and financially. Family are the people that everyone deserves to feel secure, and comfortable with, even if they aren't lucky enough to have that. From his immediate family, to his friends, colleagues and even strangers on the street corner, everyone was Turner Branch's friend! Turner's family numbered in the hundreds if not thousands.




Robert "Bob" King Monk, JD '82

Robert "Bob" King Monk, JD '82, lived in Port Neches and passed away Saturday, August 27, 2016 at home with LaRee and Elissa, his wife and daughter. Raised in Port Neches by Oliver P. Monk and Frances K. Monk, Bob attended Lamar University and the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate and Baylor Law School. Bob worked as a lawyer that represented the little guy. He was, as he often said, a street lawyer and by that he meant he would help people whether they could afford to pay up front or not. Bob took great pride in leveling the playing field by advocating for the meek and against those that might use their immense resources to otherwise bully their way through the justice system. Bob was active in his Church until he passed and counted many of the community as his dear friends. Those who knew him knew that he would do anything for anyone at his own expense, and he always did it out of joy because he loved them.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents and son, Oliver Monk, with whom he was united joyfully upon his passing. It is believed all are still engaged in a most joyous reunion and will be for some time. Bob is survived by his wife, LaRee Monk, and daughter, Elissa Monk, as well as his sister, Debbie Monk Hebert, and brothers, Steve Monk and Michael Monk.