Walter Umphrey – along with his beloved life partner and best friend, Sheila – have touched a legion of lives for the better.
For decades, Walter has been on every listing of "go-to" lawyers by advocating on behalf of those to whom harm had been done, but who otherwise would not have had a champion to represent them in our judicial system. Through the years, Walter and Sheila, quietly and outside the view of the public, have been in the business of creating opportunity – especially educational opportunity – for others. They have recognized how they have been blessed, and in turn they have returned that blessing to others. Walter often noted that their philanthropy to Baylor Law was, as he has put it, "the best money that Sheila and I have ever spent" because it was for education.
Walter was a burly man, a man from the gridiron. He had a rough exterior and a "brass tacks" demeanor. That exterior was matched with a heart of empathy and understanding for the plight of the less fortunate, the disenfranchised and the marginalized. Walter and Sheila's lives' work has been one of concern and advocacy for those who otherwise would not get in life a deserved break, or a good education. They have been people of honor, commitment, and action.
The likes of Walter Umphrey will not pass this way again.
Bradley J.B. Toben
Dean and M.C. & Mattie Caston Professor of Law
Baylor University School of Law