August–September 2022

James Henry Verschoyle, JD ’70

James Henry Verschoyle went to be with the Lord Monday, September 19, 2022, surrounded by family. Jim was born August 10, 1941, in Dallas Texas, to W. Rowe and Margaret Smyth Verschoyle. He loved being able to say he was a 4th generation Dallasite. He was a member of the first graduating class of Bryan Adams High School where he was member of the ROTC, chief photographer of the El Conquistador, and was voted a Class Personality his Junior and Senior years, to no one’s surprise. In 1963, he graduated from Southern Methodist University where he was a proud member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. According to legend, he met the love of his life, Kathleen Brooks, while swinging from a chandelier at an SAE party. They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in July. After college graduation, Jim served as a Captain in the United States Air Force, stationed in Omaha, Nebraska. After completing his service in the Air Force, Jim attended Baylor Law School. Upon graduation, he opened his own firm in Atlanta, Texas where he practiced law for more than 51 years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta; and a long-time member of the Atlanta Rotary Club, the Texarkana Country Club, the Shreveport Club and was a founding member of the Gentleman’s Martini Matinee.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Rowe and Charles Verschoyle; his parents, Rowe and Margaret Verschoyle; and step-mother, Margaret Reilly. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Brooks Verschoyle of Atlanta, Texas; children Becky Verschoyle Armstrong and husband Charlie of Dallas, Texas, Brooks Verschoyle and wife Kasi of Dallas, Texas; four grandchildren, Kathleen Armstrong, Brooks Verschoyle, Jr., Margaret Armstrong, Jay Verschoyle; and a number of other beloved relatives and a host of always entertaining friends.

John Will Odam, JD ’71

John Will Odam, a steadfast friend, gentle soul, passionate public servant and devoted husband, father and grandfather, died on August 21, 2022 after a long and noble battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was surrounded by his children at his home in Wimberley overlooking the tranquil Blanco River in the same room where his beloved wife, Peggy, passed just five months earlier. Elvis Presley's rendition of "Always on My Mind," Peggy and John's special song, played as John left this world.

A proud third-generation Texan, whose fuzzy and hopeful genealogical math sometimes expanded that legacy to five generations, John was born on May 19, 1943 in Abilene, the only child of John Will Odam and Nettie Eloise Odam née Morris. With two working parents, a young John spent many of his days in the loving home of his maternal grandparents, George and Ethel Morris. When not playing games of make believe with friends, practicing piano or helping his father out at the filling station, John retreated to the grand movie houses of Abilene to watch “picture shows.” His almost-70-year love affair with Elvis Presley, whom he would impersonate for decades to come, and a life in politics both blossomed when John lip-synced “Hound Dog” as part of his junior high student council campaign. After graduating as Mr. Abilene High, John, who maintained close relationships with dozens of his classmates until his death, attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, a brotherhood he nurtured until the end of his life. It was at UT where he met the love of his life, Peggy Kurtz, to whom he was married for 56 years. John, who worked at the YMCA in East Austin as a UT student, moved with his new wife to Littleton, Co. following college graduation to run the YMCA before entering Officer Candidate School in the United States Army. Stationed at Fort Knox, he proudly served two years in the Army, teaching tank operations before retiring as a first lieutenant in 1968. John attended Baylor Law on the GI Bill and served as editor-in-chief of the law review and graduated with honors. John and Peggy moved to Houston in 1971, and the couple welcomed their first child, Jennifer Paige, into the world in 1972.

After a brief stint working for Baker & Botts in Houston, John’s 50-year legal career took off in 1973, when he joined Texas Attorney General John Hill’s office. During his time in the AG’s office, John served as First Assistant Attorney General and argued in front of the United States Supreme Court. While in Austin, John and Peggy grew their family when son Matthew was born in 1975. A return to Houston saw John become a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski, where Colonel Leon Jaworski personally took the Texas State Bar’s 1976 Outstanding Young Lawyer under his wing. John divided his time between law and politics starting in the 1980s, when he was elected Chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party, serving from 1982 to 1984. That decade also saw John serve as special assistant to Houston mayor Kathy Whitmire and special legislative counsel for Texas Governor Mark White. John’s private practice legal career was marked most notably by his time as partner in the Houston firms of Helm, Pletcher, Hogan, Bowen & Saunders, and Beirne, Maynard & Parsons. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Texas Attorney General in 1990, a historic campaign highlighted by his travels to each of the state’s 254 county courthouses, and for United States Senate in 1996. John remained an active and optimistic participant in Democratic politics throughout his life, including working as a volunteer with Peggy on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. John also served on the Texas Youth Commission, to which he was appointed by Governor Ann Richards. The Abilene native’s life in public service was capped by his work as general counsel in the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

In addition to his paid work, John volunteered much of his time to his community, serving as a deacon at South Main Baptist Church, on the Houston Parks Board, and as a board member of the Houston Area Parkinson Society. He also found great purpose and camaraderie through his participation in the American Leadership Forum. An avid runner and fixture at Memorial Park throughout the 80s and 90s, John, who completed 14 marathons, once held a streak of running at least a mile every day for more than 20 years, a feat commemorated by local TV news in Houston. When he was not running for office or at the park with friends, John could often be found reading (or writing) a book. He chronicled his historic courthouse trek around the Lone Star State with his political memoir, Courtin’ Texas, and penned the novel The Candidate Conspiracy, a globe-hopping 2008 political thriller centered around corrupt foreign influence on U.S. politics.

John’s love of law, letters, politics, lifelong friends and Elvis always took a back seat to the greatest loves of his life: his wife, children and grandchildren. John was a constantly reliable husband and father whose support for family was unquestioned, and whose pride in his children was shared with everyone in his Rolodex. Family vacations in which John fancied himself a real-life Clark Griswold defined each summer for the Odam family for decades, and holidays spent at first in cabins and later the family home in Wimberley represented some of his warmest memories. He was a regular fixture at football games and recitals and regularly shared his love of Texas by taking his grandsons on trips to visit historical sites like the Alamo.

John is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Paige Odam Barnett; son, Matthew Kurtz Odam; son-in-law Chip Barnett; daughter-in-law Elizabeth Manieri-Odam; grandchildren Charlie Barnett, Spencer Barnett, Luke Barnett and Rose Manieri-Odam; first cousins Sandra Morrison and Richard Emery; and numerous other cousins.

Charles Scott Sexton, JD ’71

Charles Scott Sexton, of Orange, passed away at home on August 23, 2022. Born in Orange, Texas, on October 23, 1941, he was the son of William Putman Sexton and Ora Wood Sexton. Charles had a number of incredible achievements throughout his life. He proudly served in the United States Army after high school. Charles attended ATM University and was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He then went on to attend University of Texas and graduated with a chemistry degree and a mathematics degree, before receiving his law degree from Baylor Law. Charles was a member of the State Bar of Texas for 50 years. Charles was known to have a big bark however he would turn right around and give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was a wonderful man and will be truly missed by all that knew him. He is preceded in death by his parents, William and Ora Sexton; and son, Scott Sexton. He is survived by his cousins, Don Sexton, Adam Sexton both of Houston, and David Sexton of Austin.

George Jefferson “Jay” Mason, III, JD ’74

George Jefferson “Jay” Mason, III, went to be with the Lord on July 23, 2022, aged 74, the result of an accident at home. "Jay" as he was known to most family and friends, was born August 11, 1947, to George Mason, Jr. and the former Bobbie McKneely in Dallas, Texas. The second of three children, he came to faith in Christ and was baptized like his siblings at First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, where generations of his family have been active members. Jay graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1965. The son of a schoolteacher, he excelled as a student, but gained most notoriety as a star football player, playing offensive and defensive half-back as well as place-kicking and punting for the District Champion Panthers. He was named first-team All Greater Dallas, All Metro and honorable mention All State in 1964 and earned a scholarship to play football at his family's preferred school, Baylor University. There he earned All Southwest Conference honors on the freshman team before suffering the first attack of his life-long struggle with multiple sclerosis.

Jay graduated from Baylor in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and Baylor Law in 1972 with his Juris Doctor, achieving a variety of academic honors. He began practicing law in Dallas, but soon ventured into an acting career. Commuting between Dallas and New York over the next decade, he worked in a variety of television and print media, including on the famed television series "Dallas," with appearances in "Days of our Lives" and as a competitor on "Star Search." However, his worsening condition and desire to be near his sons prompted a return to Dallas and the law profession in the 1990s where he remained productive on behalf of clients over the next decade. In 2004, Jay joined his brother, Steve, on a family property designed in part with his unique mobility challenges in mind. There he added to many wonderful memories for the growing, extended Mason clan. There he also reconnected with and married the former Susan Stovall, a fellow Hillcrest Panther and long-time friend in 2018, who patiently loved him in his final years.

Being wheelchair bound for over 25-years with a progressively debilitating condition never shook Jay's faith in Christ. He also loved Texas, football, family, and flirting with the occasional waitress! He dreamed of the mountains, of horses, and the American West. He entertained himself with sports, westerns and World-War II films, as well as (secretly) the occasional Hallmark holiday movie. Ever the attorney, he also loved a good argument and tortured family members with exhausting interrogations. Those that knew Jay best, however, always appreciated the way he maintained his hopeful perspective and playful sense of humor throughout a half-lifetime of extraordinary physical difficulty.

Now wheelchair free, he walks again with his parents, Bobbie and George and granddaughter Allison Grace Mason, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Susan Mason of Tyler; his son Jarrod Mason of Plano; his son and daughter-in-law, Jeb and Taylor Mason of Dallas and their four children, Neely, Mary Hicks, George (IV), and Grace who knew him as "Grandby;" sister Jo Carol Mason of Dallas; brother Steven MacArthur Mason and sister-in-law Margaret Mason of Tyler and their children, Meredith, Carrie, Rachel, Andrew and Michael their respective spouses and their collective 17 children who affectionally named him "Grunkles."

James David Pobjecky, JD ’77

James David Pobjecky, of Winter Haven, Florida, passed away on August 28, 2022, in Enterprise, Alabama. He was born February 11, 1944, in Winter Haven, Florida, the son of the late Kathryn and Arthur Pobjecky. On December 22, 1970, while on personal leave from the Vietnam War, he married Linda Ann Leger in Hawaii, who survives.

He received a BBA in economics from Baylor University and then a Juris Doctor at Baylor Law in 1977. In 1978 David received a master’s degree in Tax Law (LLM) from the University Of Florida School Of Law. Prior to entering law school, he served in the U.S. Army for nearly ten years as an officer and a helicopter pilot with two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was an honor graduate of the University of Southern California’s military course in aviation safety and management (charge of aircraft accident investigations, etc.). His decorations included three distinguished flying crosses and three bronze stars. He obtained the rank of Major in the USAR.

David’s favorite quote: "There are two things one cannot avoid – death and taxes – with the former even being taxed by the government."" He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Linda Ann Pobjecky; daughter and son-in-law, Honorable Artie Renee Pobjecky and Michael Stimac of Houston, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Kathryn Pobjecky Orr and Steven Orr; daughter and son-in-law, Margaret Blair Moran and Robert Moran of Enterprise, Alabama; and his two grandchildren, James Clark Moran and Lilly Ann Molin.

Hon. William Lee “Bill” McAdams, JD ’79

Hon. William Lee “Bill” McAdams, went to his heavenly home on Friday, August 12, 2022. Bill was born on July 20, 1953 in Huntsville, Texas, to Doyle Frederick McAdams and LaDell Westmoreland McAdams. As a young boy, Bill loved sports. He was a good athlete and was the starting star pitcher for the Pee Wee League Champion team, the Huntsville Elks. Bill started playing golf as a preteen and was on both the Huntsville Hornet and Texas Aggie golf teams. He was in the Walker County 4-H Horse Club, a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. He loved music and played the drums in the band. From the time Bill was ten, he had a passion for reading the newspaper and staying up to date with current events. He graduated from Huntsville High School in 1971. Bill then went on to become a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1975. While attending Texas A&M, he was on the Varsity Golf Team and a member of the Corps of Cadets where Bill served as Senior Cadet Captain and Executive Officer of Company C-1. In 1974, he was elected to the Ross Volunteers which is the honor guard for the governor of Texas and the oldest student organization in the state. As a Ross Volunteer, Bill was in Austin for the inauguration of Governor Dolph Briscoe in 1974 and was also the first unit in line for the King Rex parade at Mardi Gras that same year. After earning his B.B.A. in Management from A&M Bill moved to Houston, Texas, where he drove a concrete truck and worked in a convenience store while deciding which law school to attend.

Bill attended South Texas College of Law before transferring to Baylor Law where he graduated in 1979. Bill then joined John Connally’s presidential campaign and went to Washington, D.C. He worked for Connally’s communication director, James Brady. When Brady became Ronald Reagan’s campaign press agent, he asked Bill to join him on the campaign. Bill decided against it and returned to Huntsville to practice law.

Bill practiced with Ken Keeling until 1982 and then opened McAdams and Ridley in May of 1983. Hal and Bill were law partners for six years until Bill was elected in 1988 to the 12th Judicial District Court. He then served 5 terms spanning 20 years as a State District Judge in the State’s highest Trial Court. Upon his retirement, Bill served as a part-time trial judge and a full-time attorney, mediator, and arbitrator.

Bill was very active in the community and served on numerous boards over the years. He was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville where he served as a member on the Board of Trustees. He was President Captain for the Sons of the American Revolution Captain John McAdams Chapter. Bill was a devoted member of the Texas Prison Museum Advisory Committee, Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville-Walker County Board of Directors, United Way of Walker County Director, Planning Commission of the City of Huntsville as both Vice Chairman and a member, Huntsville Leadership Institute President of Alumni Association, American Cancer Society Walker County Unit Committee, Sons of the Republic of Texas, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Walker County Fair Association, and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Committeeman. He started the Rita B. Huff Humane Society Board in 2014 and served as Vice President for many years. Bill was also a partner in the family business, McAdams Cattle Company, that had been ranching the same land since the 1880’s. This was a legacy that Bill held close to his heart.

Bill was a respected jurist, a loyal Texas Aggie, avid reader, sports enthusiast, dog lover, history buff, and most importantly a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He was an excellent writer with great attention to detail and always intentional with his words. He thoroughly enjoyed being with his grandchildren who brought him so much joy and laughter. He made a profound impact on those that knew him, and he will be greatly missed.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 20 years, Shan Walley McAdams; daughter, McKinsey Kelton McAdams Copeland and husband Baron Kyle Copeland; grandchildren, Emery Kate Copeland, Walker Kyle Copeland, and Madison Kelton Copeland; brother, Jim McAdams and wife Dr. Molly McAdams; and nephews, Will McAdams and John Kohl McAdams.

John Edward Burleson, Jr., JD ’81

John Edward Burleson, Jr., went to be with his Lord and Savior on August 19, 2022. John is survived by his wife, Debra; his children, Jim (Kristi), Scott (Catherine), and Meg; his grandchildren, Lucy and Jane; his mother, Carolyne; and his brother, Charles. A lifelong resident of Waco, TX, John graduated from Richfield High School in 1975, Baylor University in 1979, and Baylor Law in 1981. John was a long-time member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, where he married Debra in 1979. He served the church in numerous capacities including Sunday School Director and Deacon. John had a unique gift for service, a gift he sought to use wherever needed.

He faithfully worked at the same law firm his entire career, eventually becoming a partner. He served in many local organizations, including the Optimist Club, Rotary, the Board of Directors at First National Bank of Central Texas, mentor through Kids Hope USA, Greater Waco Legal Services, and others, most for a decade or longer.

John was a devoted champion of his Baylor Bears. With his family in tow, John traveled thousands of miles to watch Baylor games and rarely missed a football, basketball, or baseball game at home. His family was privileged to watch him live out his faith to the end, looking forward to heaven yet not wanting to leave them.

Cary Jay Cross, JD ’86

Cary Jay Cross, of Southlake, Texas, passed away on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Jay, as he was known, is survived by his wife, Debbie; his four children, Evan, Amber, Ashton, and Ashley; his mother, Barbara Crawford Cross; his brother and sister-in-law, Chad and Lynee’ Cross; many nieces and nephews, and loving in-laws, Kay and Jimmy Moore. He was predeceased by his father, Charles Allan Cross; his brother, Charles Allan Cross Jr.; and his sister, Cathleen Cross.

Jay was born on January 12, 1962, in Dallas, Texas. He was raised in Irving, Texas, and was active in the youth group at Central Church of Christ. There, he was able to form lasting memories and friendships, and strengthen his love of the Lord. In Irving High School, his outgoing nature found the perfect outlet by serving as an enthusiastic “keeper of the tiger”, the school mascot, before graduating in 1980. After high school, Jay attended Texas A&M University after the enticement of an Anniversary Edition gold Trans Am. There, he was president of his freshman class and joined the Corps of Cadets as a member of Squadron 12, known as an all-professional unit. All four years in Trojan 12, this squadron was presented the scholastic award for highest GPA. He enjoyed many wonderful experiences in the corps at Texas A&M that shaped his life. From march-ins to working bonfires to the regiments of Duncan Dining Hall, he worked to become the embodiment of the spirit and traditions of a Fighting Texas Aggie. Two days after graduating from A&M in 1984, he became a student at Baylor Law. For Jay, practicing law was a life dream that began in junior high when he came home and announced to his mother that he had decided to become a lawyer. He never strayed from that decision attesting to his practice of staying the course. At Baylor, he was a driven student, graduating in two years in 1986. After Baylor, he began his law career at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and enjoyed practicing under the notable district attorney Henry Wade. After leaving the prosecutor’s office, Jay sought his double board certification, allowing him to practice a broad spectrum of law during his thirty-six-year career. Above all, though, he thrived as a trial lawyer. A skilled orator, Jay was in his element in front of a jury. There, he demonstrated his passion and devotion to the law and his clients.

Jay was a devoted and loving husband and father. He invariably dedicated himself to his family’s interests and could always be found in the middle of the action. From sports games to dance recitals, Jay was there. He also took great joy in being of service. From legal advice to stopping to change a flat tire, Jay consistently looked for and attended to anyone in need of a helping hand. When he took time for himself, motorcycle trips with family, golfing with friends, and cooking for others were among his favorite activities. The special touches he added to each relationship will be fondly remembered.