In Memoriam | January 2017

Robert W. Henderson, JD '52

Robert W. Henderson passed away in Dallas, Texas on November 26, 2016 at the age of 87. He was born on August 27, 1929 in Henderson County, Texas but was raised in Palestine. He graduated from Palestine High School in 1946. He spent two years in the U. S. Marine Corps, subsequently attending Henderson County Junior College where he graduated as valedictorian in 1950. He then entered Baylor Law School, where he graduated in 1952. He worked for Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas before he began working for Placid Oil Company in 1954, an H. L. Hunt Oil Company subsidiary. He was transferred to the Dallas Office in 1959 as head of the Federal Power Commission section of the Legal Department. In this position, he worked in Washington DC for several years, including presenting oral arguments before the U. S. Supreme Court. Before his retirement in 1984, H. L. Hunt appointed him as Trustee of Reliance Trust, where he served until 1995. Throughout his career, he pursued many of his own oil and gas ventures. His hobbies included underwater photography and travelling the world with his wife by taking cruises and land tours.

He was the middle child of Lucius Dow Henderson and Ardell Starr, both deceased, and the younger brother of A. D. Henderson, who was an Attorney in Palestine, Texas, deceased. His wife of 44 years, Mary Bell from Palestine, deceased, graduated from Palestine High School in 1964. He is survived by one sister, Betty Joyce Brotherton and husband Bobby Brotherton; two daughters, Kathy Henderson Church and husband Lloyd F. Church, Jr (Little Rock, AR) and Lisa Wolgamott and husband Michael Wolgamott (McKinney, Texas); and four grandchildren, Katie Church Campbell, Daniel Church, Bradley Wolgamott, and Tyler Wolgamott.

Will David Davis, Sr., LLB '54

Will David Davis, Sr. was welcomed home by his Lord and Savior, and his beloved wife Ann on December 12, 2016. Born July 18, 1929, in Houston, TX, to David Davis and Nita Barnett Davis, Will was a loving and inspiring soul that left an impression on everyone he came in contact with. Will lived in Bedias, TX, until moving to Austin in 1934. In 1939, at the age of 9 and while living through the Great Depression, Will became the youngest Page to ever serve in the Texas Legislature, working to help provide income for his family for 3 sessions. Will was a lifeguard throughout high school and college at Barton Springs Pool. There he met many distinguished Austinites and also his future wife of 57 years, Ann Byargeon Davis, whom he married in 1954.

He graduated from Austin High School in 1948 where he went on to play football for Lamar University and then Baylor University. Will was on the 1951 Baylor football team that played in the Orange Bowl. He received his BBA-LLB (JD) degrees cum laude from Baylor University in 1954. In the spring of 1953, he was elected President of the Student Body, thus beginning his long life of public service and enjoyment of the legislative process.

Will began his law career as the Assistant Attorney General in 1954 until 1957, and then was appointed General Counsel of the Texas Department of Insurance by Governor Price Daniel in 1957. In 1960, Will joined his uncle, W.W. Heath, as a partner in law. This firm became Heath, Davis and McCalla, and he would practice law there until 2010. He then continued with Thompson Coe, "Of Counsel," until recent retirement. He represented major insurance companies, insurance holding companies and insurance trade associations, and served as outside general counsel and on advising boards of directors and management for several insurance companies. He was active in representing insurance company clients before the Texas Legislature, served as the insurance industry representative, and was responsible for drafting the legislation regulating insurance holding company systems. He was a member of the interim committee appointed by the Texas Legislative Council to rewrite the Texas Insurance Code.

Will's clients included AIG/American General Insurance Companies, American National Insurance Company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Lexon Insurance Company, National Western Life Insurance Company, USAA and Americo, Inc. In addition, Will was a former member to Boards of Directors of Dillard's, Inc., Capital National Bank, J.P. Morgan-Chase Bank of Texas, N.A., Investment Advisory Board, and American National County Mutual Insurance Company.

In politics, Will was Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party (1965-68) and of the Texas State Democratic Conventions of 1966 and 1968. He was also active as a delegate to both state and national conventions and served in many campaigns and on many Governor's Inauguration Committees from 1961 - 1991.

Because his mother had been a teacher, Will always felt a pull to serve in public education and to support teachers and educators in any way that he could. This began his "other career" in public education leadership. Will was President of the Board of Trustees of the Austin Independent School District for three terms, 1970-74, 1980-82, and served as a member of the AISD Board for 16 years, 1966-1982. During this period, he helped guide the Austin schools through major enrollment increases, two successful bond elections, major new school construction, two new superintendent searches, and racial desegregation and integration of the schools. In 1991, the AISD built and named the "Will D. Davis Elementary School." Will was always very proud of the Davis Dolphins.

At the state and national level, Will was president of the Texas Association of School Boards in 1974 and served as an officer for five years. In 2000, the Texas Association of School Boards named its office building the "Will D. Davis Building." He was president of the National School Boards Association in 1978 and served as an officer for seven years. He was instrumental in relocating the NSBA offices to Washington, D.C, and giving the public schools a strong voice in the nation's Capitol. He was a member of the 1983-84 Governor's Select Committee on Public Education, which made recommendations for major reforms that were adopted by the Legislature in the 1984 Special Session as House Bill 72. He was vice-chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, 1993-94, and member of the board, 1983-84, 1989-2000.

Will served as chairman, 2004-2006, and member of the Board of Regents of Baylor University, 1972-82, 1998-2007. He received Baylor's 1985 Distinguished Alumni Award, the 1992 Price Daniel "Pro Texana" Distinguished Public Service Award and the "Pro Texana" Award, 2014. Will always gave Baylor University and Abner McCall much credit for shaping the direction of his life and therefore wanted to return the favor with his time and talents.

One of the original seven founders of Austin Community College in 1971, Will was the first president of its Board of Trustees, serving three terms, and remained a board member for 10 years, 1972-1982. During Will's tenure, ACC enrollment grew to more than 20,000 students and became one of the largest community colleges in Texas (43,000 students today). He was very proud that they were able to save the Rio Grand campus of the old Austin High School, where he attended, and to make it the flagship building for the college.

Over the course of his life and career, Will received numerous awards for both his legal and public service work, each one as special to him as the others. He taught young married couples in Sunday school for many years at Hyde Park Baptist Church, and his family still hears from those couples today. Texas and Austin will miss this great statesman.

Above all, Will was a loving husband, father, grandfather (G-Dad) and friend. Throughout his life, Will's character and reputation reflected his high moral standards, devotion to God and his fellow man. He was a fun father and wise teacher of life lessons. He valued time with his wife and children more than anything else. He made sure that they spent many wonderful vacations together hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park and snow skiing in Aspen and Crested Butte. He also dearly loved Lake Austin and water skiing.

Will gave his family many memories on the lake over the years that continue to be shared with his grandchildren. His deep love of both Colorado and Lake Austin are gifts that he has bestowed on both his children and grandchildren that will continue to be shared with his great-grandchildren. He was devoted to his wife and children always and his character motivated us all to be better.

Will was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ann Byargeon Davis. He is survived by his children: Lisa Davis Davis (Jeff), Lynn Davis Walker (Bill), Will Davis, Jr. (Susie); nine grandchildren: Katelyn Baroch (Brad), Allie Frazier (Brent), Becca Jahnke (Kyle), Bill Walker, III (Whitney), Davis Walker (Leanne), Natalie Betzer (Drew), Will Davis, III (Amy), Emily Boone (Kenton), Sara Regan (David); and five great-grandchildren: Davis and Blake Baroch, Annaleigh Frazier, Mary Carson Walker and William "Liam" A. Walker, IV. Will is also survived by his sister-in-law Kathryn Byargeon of Chappell Hills, Texas.

Walter E. Wilson, JD '58

Walter E. Wilson passed away Dec. 14, 2016. Walter was born in Larue, TX to Joseph Truett Wilson and Alice Belle Downing on Aug. 5, 1935. He graduated from Odessa High, Odessa College, and Baylor University. He earned his juris doctor degree from Baylor Law School. He married Barbara Joan Gober on June 5, 1956 in Odessa. He was a former Ector County Attorney. He was Past Master- H.A. McFarland No. 1338 Masonic Lodge and Past President of the Permian Basin Genealogical Society.

Walter is survived by his son Keith Wilson and his wife Kathy, daughters Karen Potter and her husband Arthur and Karla Wright, son Kevin Wilson and his wife Janice; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Ralph Henry "Hank" Bauer III, JD '83

Ralph Henry "Hank" Bauer III, JD '83, of Arlington, Texas, passed away November 24, 2016.

Hank was born in Topeka, Kansas on December 12, 1951, to Ralph Henry Bauer II and Ella Mae Bauer. Hank Bauer graduated from the University of Virginia and received his juris doctor from Baylor Law School. Hank was an attorney at law for the Law Offices of Ralph Henry Bauer. He was a member of the Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club and had a passion for motorcycling, traveling, and spending time with family and loved ones.

Hank lived his life to the fullest every single day. He loved his family, he loved his friends and he loved life. Not a day passed that he did not have a smile on his face, and he taught others to enjoy life. He could always find the silver lining in any situation that came to pass.

Those left behind to cherish his memory include his children Martha Ann Bauer, Stephenie Blaise Bauer, James Clifford Bauer, and Ralph Henry Bauer IV; grandchildren Elijah Castaneda, Radyn Blaise Wernick, Harley Hendrix Hill, and Casey Anna-Blaise Brewer; and siblings Donnie Bauer and Tim Bauer.

He is sorely missed, loved by all. His spirit lives on in the minds and hearts of his family and friends. "I'm not here for a long time, I'm here for a good time."