J. RALPH WOOD JR. Wood, 89, of Dallas, died October 11, 2015. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1945 and later received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Wood was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951. He was a member in Scurry, Scurry, Pace & Wood; vice president of and general counsel to Southwestern Life Insurance Co.; and vice president of and general counsel to Great American Reserve Insurance Co. He retired in 1991. Wood was a life senior fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation, a member of the Legal Section of the American Council of Life Insurers, and a past chair of the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas. He is remembered for his love of water skiing on Lake Texoma, traveling, and volunteering. Wood is survived by his sons, J. Ralph III and Clinton; daughter, Dorothy; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife of 60 years, Sally, died a few months after him. SAM MERRILL Merrill, 35, of Dallas, died January 10, 2016. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2006. Merrill was an associate of Thompson & Knight from 2006 to 2015, when he became a partner in the firm. He received the UT Chancellor’s Award. Merrill loved traveling and playing tennis and is remembered for his smile. He is survived by his wife of seven years, Emily; sons, Lee and Henry; parents, Donna and Roy; and brothers, David and Jay Merrill and Paul and Jason Womack. REX S. WHITAKER Whitaker, 72, of Waco, died September 1, 2015. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1969. Whitaker was a senior partner in Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee in Waco from 1969 to 2008 and then of counsel to Baird, Crews, Schiller & Whitaker in Temple and Waco from 2009 to 2015. He also taught securities law at Baylor Law School as an adjunct professor from 1978 to 2015, and he was a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Throughout his career, he was known for his creative solutions, his authentic relationships with both colleagues and clients, and his deep devotion to his Lord, his family, and his friends. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn; son, attorney Mark; daughters, Lisa Osborne and Kristi Mouse; brother, attorney Wayne; and nine grandchildren. THOMAS MICHAEL MELO Melo, 63, of Houston, died December 7, 2015. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1977. Melo practiced at Bracewell & Patterson from 1977 to 2004 and was head of its labor and employment practice for several years. He also practiced at the Houston office of Ogletree Deakins from 2004 until his retirement due to illness in 2006. Melo served as statewide chairman of the Texas Association of Business and as vice chair of Casa de Esperanza de los Niños in Houston. He is survived by his wife, attorney Tina; daughters, Virginia and Caroline; and his parents and brother. WARREN G. KING King, 63, of Houston, died February 26, 2016. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978. King was an attorney with the Law Office of Warren G. King. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Georgia; sons, attorney Travis and Nathan; and three grandchildren. HON. THOMAS R. CULVER III Culver, 66, of Richmond, died September 4, 2015. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973. Culver was an attorney with the Law Office of Thomas R. Culver III from 1973 to 1977, an assistant district attorney and felony prosecutor with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office from 1977 to 1981, county court at law judge in Fort Bend County from 1981 to 1990, and judge of the 240th District Court from 1990 until his retirement in 2015. Culver was a past chairman of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the State of Texas; jury management judge of Fort Bend County, having been selected by the district and county court at law judges; and was a charter alumnus of the Class of 2003 of the College of Advanced Judicial Studies of the Texas Center for the Judiciary. He is remembered as somebody who lived life to the fullest through to the end of his courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. The highlights of his life were spending time with family and friends on his boat on Lake LBJ and listening to the Eagles and Jimmy Buffett. Culver is survived by his wife of 42 years, Jan; son, Thomas IV; daughter, attorney Courtney Baker; brothers, Richard and John; and two grandchildren. LAURA L. PURCELL Purcell, 56, of Frederick, Maryland, died June 24, 2015. She received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1994, and also was a member of the Maryland Bar. Purcell was a private practitioner in San Antonio from 1994 to 2002 and in Frederick from 2002 to 2010. She is remembered as a loving mother and devoted wife and for her community service. Purcell is survived by her husband of 24 years, Bret; sons, Ian and William Andrews and Blayne Purcell; daughter, Carson; brother, Chris Potter; sisters, Sammie Jester and Mary Green; and one grandchild. H. THOMAS HIRSCH Hirsch, 74, of Odessa, died December 13, 2015. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965. Hirsch was an attorney with the Law Office of H. Thomas Hirsch from 1965 to 2015. Since 1992, he was a member of the Texas Bar College and a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. A respected defense attorney known for his work ethic and courtroom savvy, Hirsch received the 2006 and 2007 Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Presidential Awards. He served in the U.S. Army in 1973. Hirsch is remembered as an avid UT fan and for his love of snow skiing and fishing offshore and at his Brownwood lake house. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Gayle; son, Andy Wagner; daughters, Leslie Nelson and Angie Kough; brother, Dick; and eight grandchildren. JOSE “JOE” MONSIVAIS Monsivais, 45, of El Paso, died May 14, 2015. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1996, and also was a member of the Minnesota Bar. Monsivais was an assistant county attorney for the El Paso County Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney for the El Paso District Attorney’s Office, an assistant public defender for the El Paso County Public Defender’s Office, an assistant federal public defender and federal public defender in Minnesota, and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. He played an instrumental role in developing and training police officers in the use of cameras to interview crime victims at scenes. Monsivais was certified in criminal appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He loved riding his motorcycle, traveling, and being outdoors. Monsivais is survived by his wife of eight years, attorney Amy; son, Thomas; daughters, Cassandra and Madeleine; and parents, Jose Sr. and Estela. JAMES DAVID MOORE Moore, 64, of Jasper, died March 23, 2016. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1977. Moore was an assistant district attorney for Jefferson County in Beaumont from 1977 to 1984, a partner in Moore & Sikes in Nederland from 1984 to 1992, and founder of J. David Moore & Associates in Nederland from 1992 to 2002. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sonya; daughter, attorney Laura Beth Vietor; sons, attorney Colin Moore and Lance Parks; sisters, Connie Lindsey and Janice Cooley; and seven grandchildren. MICHAEL PAUL HANTEL Hantel, 63, of Houston, died December 17, 2015. He received his law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, became a member of the Louisiana Bar, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1985. Hantel was an attorney with a private Louisiana firm, followed by Exxon Mobil Corp. and Dowell Schlumberger. He then moved to Houston and worked in litigation for Schlumberger Limited from 1985 to 2015. He loved playing the guitar, banjo, ukulele, and mandolin, and could play along by ear to almost any tune. Hantel is survived by his wife of 15 years, Elani; sons, Adam and Harrison; daughter, Abigail; and brother, John. FRANK TUPPER SMITH JR. Smith, 85, of Dallas, died December 30, 2014. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 and was awarded a Purple Heart medal. Smith received his law degree from Columbia Law School, was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974, and was a member of the New York and California bars. Smith was an associate of Vaughan and Lyons in New York City from 1956 to 1959; an associate of Peckerman, Gleberman, Ezrine, and Fischer in New York City from 1959 to 1963; vice president and trust officer at the Bank of California in San Francisco from 1963 to 1971; an associate of a Los Angeles law firm from 1971 to 1972; a trust officer of Republic Bank in Dallas from 1972 to 1976 and of Texas Bank from 1976 to 1981; and a private practitioner in Dallas from 1981 to 2014, having been an estate planning specialist during much of that time. Smith is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jill; daughters, Delia West, attorney Lisa Hogg, and Kathryn Hartle; and three grandchildren. HON. JOHN T. FORBIS Forbis, 89, of Childress, died December 28, 2015. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Forbis was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1950. He was a partner in Williams, Broughton and Forbis Law Firm from 1950 to 1984; a district attorney for the 100th Judicial District from approximately 1954 to 1964; judge of the 100th Judicial District Court from 1985 to 1993; and a senior judge of the 100th Judicial District Court from 1993 to 2008. Forbis was an instructor for the College for New Judges of the Texas Center for the Judiciary and was a recipient of the 2000 Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. He is remembered for his love of children and woodworking and for making hundreds of toys every year for 25 years to give to Childress youth. Forbis is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeanne; daughter, Nancy Forbis-Stokes; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. PAUL EDWARD KELLEY JR. Kelley, 69, of San Antonio, died November 2, 2015. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1973 and received the Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal. Kelley later received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975. He was an attorney in the IRS Estate and Gift Taxes Division in Houston from approximately 1975 to 1978 and in Austin from approximately 1978 to 2007. Kelley is remembered as an avid reader and excellent bridge player who achieved the rank of platinum life master in the American Contract Bridge League. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Rosemary; sons, Paul III and Rodney; brother, David; and four grandchildren. MICHAEL JENKINS HUTSON Hutson, 57, of El Paso, died November 26, 2015. He received his law degree with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1983. Hutson began his career at Grambling & Mounce in 1985. He later founded the Ainsa Hutson law firm with Francis and Michael Ainsa and worked there from 2001 until his death. His practice focused on commercial transactions and real estate law. Hutson was an avid genealogist and historian, having served as a past president of the El Paso County Historical Society. He also was an active member and past president of the Kern Place Association. Hutson is survived by his wife, Lorenia; children, Mike, Melissa, and Memo; and brothers, Eric and Steve. GEORGE JOHN CARSON Carson, 79, of San Antonio, died March 27, 2016. After working as a geophysicist, Carson received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1963. Carson practiced with Morrison, Dittmar, Dahlgren & Kaine. He was certified in oil, gas, and mineral law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and focused on wills, trusts, probate, and family law. He was admitted to practice in many courts, including the U.S. and Texas Supreme Courts. In 2013, Carson received the 50-year lawyer recognition from the State Bar of Texas. His passions were family, Texas A&M football, and his homeland of Greece, having served as a past president of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church. Carson is survived by his wife, Georgia; sons, John and Philip; daughter, Penelope Yanus; and brothers, Chris and Paul. STEPHEN C. MORTON Morton, 66, of Dallas, died December 28, 2015. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1971 to 1975 and later received his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. Morton was a member of the Tennessee Bar and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982. He was an associate of Heiskell, Donelson, Bearman, Adams, Williams & Kirsch in Memphis from 1978 to 1981; an associate of and shareholder in Johnson & Gibbs from 1981 to 1992; a shareholder in Storey Armstrong Steger & Martin from 1992 to 1997; a partner in Worsham Forsythe Wooldridge from 1997 to 2001; and founder of and member in Morton PLLC from 2001 to 2015. Morton was a past president of the Christian Legal Society of Dallas. He enjoyed playing golf, held a Federal Aviation Agency commercial pilot’s certificate with instrument rating, and served at Scofield Memorial Church in many positions, including youth leader and board chairman. Morton is survived by his wife of 43 years, Kay; sons, David and Jeffrey; sister, Connie Hager; and five grandchildren. ROBERT WILLIAM LEMMONS Lemmons, 64, of Dallas, died April 1, 2016. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978. Lemmons was a solo criminal defense practitioner in Dallas for more than 37 years. He enjoyed raising chickens and loved and doted on his two dogs, Monster and Dogster. Lemmons is survived by his brothers, attorney Mark and Kevin; and sisters, attorney Linda Lemmons and Robin Jones. Submit a memorial at texasbar.com/memorials or call (512) 427-1830. For information on closing a deceased attorney’s practice, go to www.texasbarcle.com/materials/closingapractice.html
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