August 2018

Murray Watson Jr., JD ’54

Murray Watson Jr., age 86, a native of Mart, Texas, passed away, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, surrounded by family and friends.

Watson was born in Mart, May 14, 1932, to Murray Watson, Sr., and Ethel Bryson Watson, both deceased. In a long, distinguished and colorful career, Watson was many real things to many people, but of all his accomplishments, the thing he was most proud of was his role as husband, father, and grandfather to his devoted family. He allowed nothing to come between him and them.

Watson was a lawyer, a rancher, a politician, a philanthropist, and had a lifelong passion for helping others. He graduated from Mart High School in 1949, from Baylor University in 1952, and received his law degree from Baylor Law in 1954. He was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives at age 24, and served there until 1963, when he was elected to the Texas Senate and served there until 1973. Watson loved politics and understood how the system worked and how to get things done. He was a good friend and confidant of former Lt. Governor Bob Bullock.

As senator, Watson carried many important pieces of legislation, but he was especially proud of helping create what is now TSTC. After retiring from the bruising field of elective politics, he became general counsel for the Texas State College system for 26 years.

Pursuing another of his passions, education, Watson was one of the key organizers and creators of the Brazos Higher Education Authority in 1975, and the Brazos Higher Education Service Authority – nonprofit organizations designed to help students secure loans. He was the CEO of both organizations which have aided thousands of students in financing their college educations. Both entities remain viable and active to this day.

Watson also owned and operated the family ranch and cattle operation in Mart, as well as the historic Watson Feed store in downtown Mart. He worked in the feed store every Saturday, saying it kept him in touch with the real world.

Watson is also a Past Master and more than 65-year member of the Baylor Masonic Lodge, a 33rd degree honorary member of the Waco Scottish Rite Consistory, a 50-plus year member of Karem Shrine, and a Past Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is a Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary Club of Waco and an active member of Austin Avenue Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Greta Warren Watson; son, Marcus Warren Watson; daughter, Milicent "Missy" Larson and husband, Randall; granddaughter, Annika Yvonne Larson; grandson, Niklas Watson Larson; sister, Carol Ann Barclay; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Thomas Earl Hamilton, JD ’65

Thomas Earl Hamilton, age 82, of Plainview, Texas, departed this world on Sunday, June 10, 2018.

Hamilton was born on May 30, 1936, in Matador, Texas. He graduated from Matador High School in 1955 and Texas Tech University in 1960 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He served in U.S. Army Intelligence for three years including assignments during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Hamilton married Jan Barton of Matador in 1963. In 1965 he graduated first in his class from Baylor Law, becoming a third generation attorney. Hamilton joined the law offices of LaFont, Tunnell, Formby, LaFont and Hamilton, L.L.P., in Plainview (currently LaFont, Formby & Hamilton, L.L.P.), and later welcomed his sons, Brent and Rob, into the law firm. Hamilton served as County Attorney for Hale County in 1969 and District Attorney from 1969 to 1974. He served as City Attorney for Plainview from 1978 to 1990, and was City Attorney for Matador at the time of his death. Hamilton was recognized by the State Bar of Texas as a 50-year practicing attorney in 2015 and was thrilled that many members of his family could join him in San Antonio for the recognition. Hamilton was a highly respected lawyer across our area. One colleague aptly described Hamilton as "a great mentor, ally, and friend."

Hamilton is survived by his children, John and wife, Tamara, of Lubbock; Brent and wife, Cari, of Lubbock; and Rob and wife, Mary Elizabeth, of Matador. His beloved grandchildren are Channing, Clark, Ashley, Jack, Tom, and Roye. Siblings include Dick Hamilton and wife, Patti, of Willow, Alaska; Harry Hamilton and wife, Ann, of Lubbock; and Mary Jane Carter and husband, Carl, of San Saba. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Josephine Hamilton of Matador.

Robert E. Jenkins, Jr., JD ’68

Robert E. Jenkins, Jr., was a sixth generation Bastropian born December 31, 1943 to Bernice Hasler Jenkins and Robert E. Jenkins, Sr. He passed away, June 14, 2018. He graduated from Bastrop High School in 1962, attended the University of the South his freshman year, graduated from the University of Texas in 1966 with a BBA in accounting, and graduated from Baylor Law with his juris doctor degree in 1968. Jenkins was an active member of Phi Gamma Delta at UT, and Pi Alpha Delta at Baylor as well as a member of the Baylor Law Review. Drafted in November 1968, Jenkins proudly served in the JAG Corps for 4 1/2 years, primarily at Fort Benning, Georgia, teaching "Law of Land Warfare" to military officers from across the globe. His last year in the military was spent at Fort Hood, Texas, where he served as Claims Officer for III Corps. After a brief stint practicing in Dallas, Jenkins returned to Bastrop to practice law with James B. Kershaw. It is here that he spent his adult life working with people he loved and living in his hometown. He took everyone's concern to heart and carried those burdens with him at the office and away from the office. While Jenkins' caring nature reached many people, his greatest contribution was his love of his family. He loved his wife Stephanie, his family, his dogs, and Bastrop. He worked hard, played hard and lived life to the fullest. He is survived by his wife Stephanie; son Robert and wife Misty; son Will and wife Cindy; grandchildren Allie, Taylor, Jackson, Hayden, Caleb, and Cole; first cousins, Judy Bland, Ann Miller, Forrest Adams; and many extended cousins.

Larry Wayne McEachern, JD ’76

Larry Wayne McEachern, age 65, died Saturday, June 30, 2018. McEachern was born March 7, 1953 to Wilson and Jean Houser McEachern of Plainview. He graduated from Plainview High School in 1971. McEachern was a life-long supporter of his alma mater, Baylor University, graduating with honors receiving his BA in 1975 and juris doctor from Baylor Law in 1976. McEachern completely immersed himself in law school receiving many honors including, First Place, Baylor Moot Court Competition, Fall 1975; recipient, Willard C. Finkelstein Moot Court Award; recipient Leighton B. Dawson Moot Court Award; and semi-finalist, Baylor Mock Trial Competition. He was a member of the Order of Barristers and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. A most memorable highlight of his law school experience was a trip to London that he received for a winning moot court competition. After law school, McEachern returned to Plainview joining LaFont, Tunnel, Formby, LaFont and Hamilton for ten years before moving to Lubbock to continue his law career at McWhorter, Cobb and Johnson. Later he served as of counsel with both Key & Key and Bradley M. Pettiet. Because of McEachern's lifelong love of learning, he became an adjunct professor teaching Business Law at Wayland Baptist University, Law and Banking at American Institute of Banking, and Business Law at Texas Tech University. McEachern was board certified in Family Law. His professional memberships included the State Bar of Texas, Lubbock County Bar Association, and Hale County Bar Association. McEachern was active in the community and honored to serve in many capacities including past president of Plainview Rotary Club, past president and state board of director of the American Heart Association, Hale County Civic Music Association, Plainview Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee, Plainview Humane Society, Plainview Civic Theater, Plainview Area United Way, and District Chair of Boy Scouts of America. During McEachern's time in Plainview, he married Gail Harper and they celebrated 39 years of marriage this year. He was especially proud of their daughter, Brittany. McEachern was an avid reader and historian but particularly enjoyed politics, presidential history, biblical history, and Winston Churchill.