Honorable John Thomas Boyd of Amarillo, Texas, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Judge Boyd was born on August 28,1927, in Plainview, Texas, to Arthur E. and Mary Effie Boyd. He is survived by his wife of seventy-one years, Bonnie Lamb Boyd. John graduated from Plainview High School in 1944 and entered Virginia Military Institute with the intention of pursuing a career in the military. However, he was drafted into the U.S. Army that year and served in the Aleutian Islands until his discharge in 1945. Following his discharge, he received his undergraduate and law degrees at Baylor University. It was there that he met Bonnie Lamb, the love of his life, and also began his life-long love of Baylor. After graduating from law school in 1950, he returned to Plainview and joined the law offices of Lucien Morehead. After Bonnie graduated from Baylor in the fall of 1950, they were married on November 18, 1950.
In 1969 Boyd was appointed as 64th District Judge by Governor John Connally. In 1981 he was appointed by Governor Bill Clements to the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo, and in 1996 he successfully ran for Chief Justice of that court. He served there until 2002 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. At that time, he was the longest-tenured state judge, and it is a testament to extreme respect he received as a judge that he was never opposed in an election. After his retirement he continued to sit on judicial assignments for several years.
Judge Boyd served as the chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas 1982-1987, chair of the Board of Directors of the Texas Center for the Judiciary and chair of the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He was named Baylor Lawyer of the Year in 1995 and also received the Baylor University Alumni Association's Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award for an elected or appointed official who exemplifies "the spirit of selfless dedication to public service." In 2003 he was named the recipient of the Samuel Persara Outstanding Jurist Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar in 2011. Boyd was a long-time member of the Plainview and Amarillo East Rotary Clubs.
John Boyd was passionate about Baylor University and served on the Baylor Board of Regents for nine years. He optimistically supported the Athletic Program through good years and bad and was so very proud of the success that Baylor achieved in all sports. He loved the Lady Bears and was surprised on his 90th birthday with a personal appointment with Coach Kim Mulkey in her office. He was overjoyed when the Baylor Men won the National Championship in basketball this year and watched and re-watched the Final Four games. He was extremely proud of the football team, and on the last day of his life he re-watched the Bears' victory against Kansas State.
John and Bonnie enjoyed a long, happy, and fun marriage! They recently celebrated their seventy-first wedding anniversary with a festive lunch together. They loved to travel and spent one summer engaged in the Baylor in Great Britain program. They went on several cruises and enjoyed a trip to Disney World riding as many rides as possible. They spent many weeks in the summer at their cabin in Cloudcroft, NM.
Most importantly, John Boyd loved and honored his Savior, Jesus Christ. He spent most of his life teaching Sunday School classes, most recently an Adult class at First Baptist Amarillo. In his last months he would often lapse into prayer at random moments. He loved to shout, "Hallelujah!", meaning "God be Praised!" We have no doubt that these words are ringing out all over Heaven as he enjoys fellowship and conversation with Jesus Christ in person!
John was loved by so many—his family, friends, fellow judges and lawyers, and his caregivers the last years of his life. He was an eternal optimist and possessed an innate sweetness, treating every person with grace and kindness. He made each feel worthy and valuable, consistently exhibiting the love of Jesus with a twinkle in his eye.
In addition to his wife, Bonnie, he is survived by his son, John Thomas Boyd, Jr., and wife, Laura; daughter Rebecca Boyd Bailey and husband, Wes; one grandson, Boyd Murphy Bailey; five granddaughters, Hillary Anne Boyd, Erin Bailey Simpson and husband, Sam, Megan Boyd Rayburn and husband, Brian, Kate Bailey McCunniff and husband, Bill, and Clarissa Emily Boyd; eight great-grandchildren, Juliet, Johnny, and Bridget Simpson, Wesley, Bailey, and Molly Kate McCunniff, and Pax and Macrina Rayburn.
Lewis Lanier Williams was born in Houston, Texas, February 1, 1929, the fourth and last child of James Wimbish Williams, Jr., and Blanche Adaline Norwood Williams. He died January 2, 2022, in Travis County, Texas. He was reared in Marlin, Falls County, Texas, and graduated from Marlin High School in 1946. He received a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Rice University and was commissioned to serve in the U. S. Navy in 1950. He served on board the U.S.S. Eversole (DD 789) in the western Pacific during the Korean war and attained the rank Lieutenant. He graduated from Baylor Law School in 1957 and conducted a general practice of law in Colorado City, Texas, until 1961. He then entered employment in the oil and gas exploration industry, serving in various positions in Dallas, Houston, London and Austin, culminating in the position of Vice President and General Counsel of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Upon his retirement in 1994, he and his wife moved to Austin, remaining there for the rest of his life.
He was predeceased by his parents, by his sister, Elizabeth, and his brother, James. He was preceded in death by his wife, O'Gene Gill Williams, after 58 years of marriage, and is survived by a son, John Norwood Williams (Monica), a daughter, Nancy Elizabeth Wyatt (Kenny), grandchildren, Lauren Meindl, Samuel Lewis Williams and Olivia Renee Williams, and great-grandchildren Margaret Lanier Meindl, Catherine Jennings Meindl and Anne Nicholson Meindl.
Lewis was known among family members as the keeper of the Williams and Norwood family genealogies including publication of Williams: 300 Years of Leadership in America, and for his interests in Presbyterian church history, Texana books, and improvement of their stock farm in Falls County. "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
David Michael Guinn, Sr., 82, departed this life on January 6, 2022.
David was born on February 24, 1939, in Cleburne, Texas to Ernest and Dorothy Guinn. He grew up attending Main Street Methodist Church and Cleburne public schools until his graduation in 1957, where in high school he was Senior Class President. He earned a football scholarship to attend Baylor University that fall. His hopes of entering the medical profession ended that August with a severe knee injury that forced him to drop a biology class because he could not stand up for the three-hour lab. Upon the wise counsel of his advisor, Dr. Robert Miller, he enrolled in a political science course. That class sparked in David a new interest in becoming a lawyer.
No longer on an athletic scholarship, David was awarded an academic scholarship provided by Dr. W.P. Ball of Cleburne. After completing 90 hours of coursework, David utilized Baylor's then available "3-3" program, enrolling in law school in 1961 for both his senior year of undergraduate coursework and his first year of law school. He graduated from Baylor Law School with his Juris Doctor degree in 1963.
David first worked for the Jack Altaras firm in Cleburne, then the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Fort Worth. He then worked for two years at the firm of Harris & Ball in Arlington. In the fall of 1965, he was admitted to the University of Michigan Law School, where he obtained his LL.M. in International Law in May of 1966. That same month he began teaching at Baylor Law School, where he would continue for 54 years until his retirement in 2020.
During his career at Baylor, David initially taught many courses, including Criminal Law, Admiralty, International Law, Administrative Law, and Local Government, earning tenure in 1972. However, it was in the disciplines of Constitutional Law and Civil Rights that he made his mark and greatest contributions as a teacher. Respected and loved by the more than seven thousand Baylor Law students he taught, the University many years ago bestowed upon him the prestigious title of "Master Teacher." His students and alumni lovingly referred to him as "King David" or "the Godfather." In 2013, he was named Baylor Lawyer of The Year, the highest honor given by the Baylor Law Alumni Association.
In a tribute to the esteem with which he regarded education, during his years teaching, he took pride in completing six hours of coursework that he was lacking to obtain his undergraduate degree by studying at Queens College in Oxford, England for three hours of credit and at McLennan Community College for a three-hour computer course, finally earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2000.
He served as Baylor's Faculty Representative to the Southwest Conference, Big 12 Conference and NCAA, chairing the Big 12 Conference Council of Faculty Athletic Representatives and serving on several Big 12 standing committees, including Finance and Long-Range Planning. For many years, David's advice and services were regularly sought by Baylor presidents and administrators, including his long-time friend, Judge Abner V. McCall. Texas Governors Dolph Briscoe, Mark White and other public office holders sought his advice navigating matters of constitutional import.
In addition to his teaching duties, David undertook additional work, teaching part of the Finkelstein Bar Review, acting as a special counsel for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists under Attorney General Jim Mattox, and counsel for the Western Institute of Science & Technology, a Dept. of Agriculture Program that assisted the Bahamas with programs to teach beef cattle husbandry. He also assisted in drafting the Texas Administrative Procedures Act. In October of 1978, he and fellow professor Michael Morrison began their practice as Guinn & Morrison, specializing in voting rights work, representing over 300 political subdivisions throughout Texas in redistricting matters.
David was admitted to the State Bar of Texas and the United States Supreme Court, was a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and the Federalist Society.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Dorothy Guinn.
In 1983 he married Cyndi Patton of Gustine, Texas and had one daughter, Catherine. He maintained a uniquely close relationship with her even until his death. He was married to Carol Hooker in 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas and had two sons, David Jr., and John.
He is survived by his former spouses; younger brother, John Bedford Guinn of Pidcoke; son David and wife Wendy of Idalou; son John of Waco; and daughter Catherine Dudley and husband Lane of Gustine. He also is survived by his three grandsons, Randal and wife Stephanie of Houston, Taylor and wife Callie of Longview, and Robert of Longmont, Colorado. He also was blessed with three great-grandsons, Graham, Grayson and Holden of Longview, Texas.
George "Stanley" Rentz, a former McLennan County Judge and long-time defense attorney, died on Sunday from complications of Alzheimer's disease. The Waco resident was 83. Stanley was born on a kitchen table in 1938 in the China Spring area of McLennan County, to dairy farmers Albert Ward Rentz and Sarah "Catherine" Boyd Rentz. He served as county judge between 1982 and 1986 and then returned to private practice. He also worked as a municipal court judge for Hewitt and Bellmead. Rentz often defended the underprivileged, sometimes taking barter services such as house painting or old furniture as payment instead of cash. "I think Stanley did more pro bono work than any lawyer in Waco," said lifelong friend Robert Clemons. "He never turned away a friend in need and he had so many friends."
He was the court-appointed defense attorney for Graeme Craddock, one of nine Davidians who survived the 51-day standoff against federal authorities in 1993 and the ensuing fire that engulfed Mount Carmel complex and killed 75 people. Stanley was the only Waco attorney who kept with the case until well after it reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the sentences handed out to many of the Davidians were inappropriately harsh. The sentence of Craddock, an electrical engineer from Australia, was one of several that was ultimately reduced. Stanley continued to visit Craddock until he was released to Australia in 2006. In a profile of Stanley around the federal Davidian trial, the Waco Tribune-Herald described him as a mild-mannered lawyer with a low voice, hint of a soft drawl, and a "no-frills style of cross examination." His patient and steady ways were his trademarks throughout his life.
He grew up with his older brother and sister, Ward and Camelia, and younger twin sisters, Brenda and Linda, on a dairy farm along "Steinbeck Bend" on the Brazos River. They lived on 250 acres bought through a federal government-sponsored project to help bring families out of the Great Depression. Stanley loved growing up along the rolling pastures, where he would later return to live, but farming was not for him. Although he had early success winning a trip to Ohio for a steer he groomed in a 4-H club competition — glory that he would later retell often — he did not fully appreciate 4 a.m. alarms for milking cows. His siblings recounted how he preferred throwing baseballs or building telescopes with his brother to bailing hay. When his dad went looking for help, "Stanley would be out practicing his pitch for baseball and Ward would be reading a book none of us could understand, much to the chagrin of my dad," said his sister Brenda. "When Stanley could do it, he would trick me into catching for him, which I hated because I never knew if he was going to be on target."
After graduating from University High School in 1956, he attended Wharton County Junior College on a football scholarship and then graduated from the University of North Texas with an economics degree. He returned to Waco, teaching math and science and coaching football at Bruceville-Eddy High School. He later attended Baylor Law School, where he met the love of his life, Nancy Lee Davis, who was studying education at Baylor. They married in 1966 and he graduated from law school the following year. The two shared a passion for all things Baylor and often wore their green and gold at football, basketball and softball games and even joined the school's "most exclusive" Fano poetry club related to the Armstrong Browning Library. Stanley especially loved reading historical nonfiction and taking long road and camping trips with his wife and two daughters Rebecca and Catherine. He preferred to take the longer "the scenic routes" along country roads to visit historical markers and old courthouses. "Dad loved riding the back roads of Waco up until his final days," said his daughter Rebecca Rentz. "Earlier you had be prepared for anything. One day he asked me to go to the ‘gas station' with him and we ended up at the Shreveport, LA, casino."
Stanley established a private law practice in downtown Waco after law school that he kept until retiring in 2015 except for the four years he served as county judge. He represented many school districts in the county, including Midway ISD, where his daughters attended school, and also did estate work.
Stanley had a 50-year-long regular Gin card game with Waco friends, and he also ran religiously with a group of downtown lawyers and businesspeople. He eventually ran his first marathon at the age of 50. His wide network meant he rarely went anywhere in Waco without recognition. "We never dined in a restaurant that someone, often several, stopped to speak to Stanley," Clemons said. Clyde Martin, one of Stanley's former running partners and the then President of The First National of Central Texas, described him as a "sincere person" who is so down-to-earth he thinks nothing of wearing old, torn shorts and shirts to jog in, according to the 1994 newspaper profile of Rentz. He was not known for his fashion sense, and usually enlisted help from a neighbor to help buy his wife Christmas presents. One year he decided to do it on his own. It did not go well. "He bought mom particularly ugly blue jean overalls and a hot pink T-shirt that looked like they came from a farm supply store," said daughter Catherine Rentz. "She was an English teacher, not a farmer. Sadly, he did not know why we were all laughing."
He had a dry and sardonic sense of humor, though sometimes not initially appreciated. When he was around twenty, he sat in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve with his rifle. He told his young niece that he was waiting for Santa Claus. His sisters and mother were yelling at him to stop. "I was traumatized for life," said Cheryl Foster, his niece who has since learned to laugh about it. When friends of his rebellious daughter, Catherine, came to sneak her out of the house one Friday night, her prescient father sat waiting calmly on the backyard deck sipping his coffee, and softly asked her friends who were then knocking on her window, "Can I help you?" Catherine discovered her dad developed creative ways of looking after his daughters without being seen, but said his worries were his own fault; she learned early on from him that it's healthy to question authority and to have independent thought.
Reading newspapers, learning about the world and "always putting yourself in the other person's shoes" were lessons they absorbed. Doctors told the family that Stanley's deep engagement in life likely delayed the worst ravages of Alzheimer's disease. He retired from his law practice in 2015 as signs of dementia set in. He still enjoyed occasional trips with good friends and family. "He was truly a great man and we were blessed to be able to call him best friend," said Sandi and Tom Wicker, who often traveled with Stanley and Nan. He maintained his kind spirit throughout his sickness, frequently apologizing for his memory issues. Even though he sometimes didn't know where he was, he often repeated how thankful he was for his good life. He and his wife joined Alzheimer's studies, shared stories of their struggles with local news outlets, and agreed to donate his brain to research in an effort to help others.
In addition to his wife of 55 years, he is survived by his two daughters, Rebecca Rentz of Houston, Texas, and Catherine Rentz of Maryland; one sister, Brenda Golubski of Waco, Texas; and four grandchildren.
Rhonda King Harmon of Manakin Sabot, Virginia, passed away on January 19, 2022. She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Harmon; children, Timothy, Krista, Jeremy and Jana; mother, Doris Jean King; brother, Robert Moore King (Serge); first cousins, Rolonda Rene Burns (Nathaniel), Tonii Greene (Tricia) and Duane Greene (Annie); cousins, Meagan Golighty (Henry) and Victor Whitney (Kiara).
Rhonda was born and raised in Waco, Texas and attended Richfield High School, where she was drum major for the state-winning school band and soloist for the choir. She was a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc, where she served as Regional President. Upon graduation from high school in 1981, she accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Rhonda was a part of only the fifth class at West Point that allowed women. And it was at West Point that Rhonda accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. In 1985, Rhonda graduated and was commissioned into the United States Army as a Military Intelligence Officer, serving her first year in Seoul, Korea. After Korea, Rhonda was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where she met her future husband, Jonathan, at a Bible study in 1988. Jon and Rhonda were married in Waco, Texas on April 29, 1989. In 1990, Rhonda left the military to attend Baylor Law School and, shortly after beginning law school, her husband was deployed to the Middle East for the Gulf War. Despite this challenge, Rhonda graduated law school in 1993, number one in her class. Upon graduation, she accepted a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Samuel Johnson of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas. In 1995, Rhonda moved to Richmond, Virginia with her husband and accepted a position as an associate with Mezzullo & McCandlish. In 1998, as a very pregnant associate, Rhonda along with then-City Councilman Tim Kaine, won what was then the largest verdict in the history of Virginia, a $100M verdict against Nationwide Insurance Company for redlining. After the case settled, Rhonda left the practice of law to homeschool her children, work in children's ministry, support her husband and support those in need through hospitality. Rhonda loved people and often invited as many as 70 people to join her family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Many of these individuals would have spent the holidays alone if not for Rhonda's generosity. Rhonda was an accomplished singer and was invited to sing at numerous events, including the dedication of the new federal courthouse in Austin, events hosted by Governor Ann Richards and Governor George Bush and the inauguration of then-Governor Timothy Kaine. Rhonda's talents were many, but most will remember her for her love and devotion to God first and then her husband, children, family and friends. She always had a word of encouragement and her smile would light up a rainy day. Rhonda's life was the manifestation of God's love and she was committed to serving whether it was her clients, family, friends or complete strangers. She understood that love is best expressed through service and that is how she lived. In 2020, Rhonda was named the "Richmond Christmas Mother." Her legacy will live on through her family and the countless lives that she touched.
William Maurice Blair III was a dear friend and family member who will be remembered for his loyalty, sense of humor and intellect. Will was born in Champaign, Illinois on July 3, 1969. Soon after, he and his family moved to Dallas, Texas where he lived until the mid-eighties before moving to Longview, Texas. After graduating from Hallsville High School in 1987, Will attended Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana on full scholarship. While a student at Centenary, he studied abroad at the University of Aarhus in Denmark as well as the University of Oxford in London. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Centenary College he then moved to Waco, Texas where he earned his law degree from Baylor University. He practiced law for 27 years in his hometown of Longview, Texas. During Will's law career he practiced with Randy Akin, Greg Neeley and Ralph Pelaia. Will was also a restaurant entrepreneur and opened Tyler Street Bistro with Gerald Rodriguez and years later, Willy G's both located in downtown Longview, Texas.
Will spent his life helping others by organizing fundraisers for local charities, coaching soccer teams for his two sons, serving on the board of LMFA, and was involved in the relocation and remodeling of the Downtown Coffee Shop. Will also enjoyed deep sea fishing, vacationing, fantasy football and chess. He attended the Indy 500 race many times. Will also was known for his love of entertaining and cooking for others.
Will is proceeded in death by his grandparents William M. and Opal Blair, Wilbur and Winifred Palmer, and his sister Tamra Palmer. Will is survived by his parents William M. Blair Jr., and Katherine Blair, his wife Carol Blair, his daughter and her husband Raegan and Tyler McFadden, his daughter Jayelan Roberts, sons William (Reese) Blair IV, and Michael Blair, his sister and her husband Dr. Wendy Markowitz and James Markowitz, his sister-in-law Sheila Perduyn, sister-in-law and her husband Jessica and Dameion Donovan, brother--in-law David Tolleson, his nieces Morrigan Wimberly, Gracelynn Tolleson, Riley Tolleson, Joella Perduyn, Katherine Markowitz, Seauphe' Acker, nephews Peyton Perduyn, Jackson Perduyn, James T. Markowitz and Chance Donovan, great-nephews Jennings Wimberly and Lenox Wimberly.
Jordan Battersby McDonald was unexpectedly taken from this life on December 5, 2021, in Bastrop, Texas. Jordan Battersby McDonald was born October 23, 1987, in Austin, Texas, to Dr. Curtis and Jamie Kershaw McDonald. Jordan, the youngest of the three McDonald boys, grew up alongside his brothers Chase and Miles. The three were inseparable and were quite the handful growing up. Jordan often referred to his older brothers as his best friends, and he loved telling tales of their childhood adventures. A Bastrop native, Jordan graduated from Bastrop High School in 2006. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Jordan attended Baylor University School of Law and graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2014. After law school, Jordan returned to Bastrop to practice law, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, James B. Kershaw, Attorney at Law. While practicing, Jordan, a defense attorney, met the newest prosecutor for the county, Jaycee Gail Dawson, while settling a case in court. After a fairytale first date, the two both knew they had found their soulmate and the love of their lives. Despite his short time in this world, Jordan lived a full life. He could be described as the "life of the party." He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that was infectious. He was incredibly funny, kind, and loyal. Jordan was brilliant and had a Genius IQ. He was extremely knowledgeable on multiple subjects such as history, politics, movies, and books. Jordan loved trivia and played on a weekly trivia team, The Wet Bandits. Jordan loved auctions, garage sales, and thrifting. His collection of "treasures" from his thrifting was quite impressive. He was a fabulous cook who could create recipes from scratch that always turned out fantastic. He loved watching television, especially documentaries on conspiracy, aliens, and Big Foot. The greatest joy of Jordan's life was his son, Connor. Connor brought Jordan immense happiness, and Jordan cherished all time spent with him. The duo loved playing video games together, swimming in the family pond, and taking golf cart rides. As a child, Jordan attended Camp Longhorn in Burnet, Texas. He returned as a counselor for younger campers after his graduation from high school. Jordan loved every second spent at camp and loved telling stories of his time there. He made many friends at Camp Longhorn, and he stayed in touch with many of them throughout the remainder of his life. Jordan is survived by his son, Connor Aaron McDonald of Austin; parents, Dr. Curtis and Jamie Kershaw McDonald of Bastrop; fiancé, Jaycee Gail Dawson of Smithville; grandparents, James B. Kershaw (Doris) of Bastrop; brothers, Chase McDonald (Melissa) of Bastrop, and Miles McDonald of Cedar Park; uncles, Gordan McDonald (Lynn) of Bastrop, Martin McDonald (Chrisy) of Florida, and Richard "Ricky" Kershaw of Austin. Jordan is also survived by numerous cousins, friends, and his beloved pets, Alabaster the pug and Steven, the office cat. Jordan was preceded in death by his grandmother, Barbara Matthew Kershaw; grandparents Kelley and Dilys McDonald; uncles, James "Jimmy" Kershaw, and David "Randy" Kershaw. Pall Bearers are Michael Osborn, Jason Osborne, Rod Barsuhn, John Brown, Cole Dabney, Monte James, Kevin Nixon, and Hersh Nehete.