WILLIAM WAYNE JUSTICE
1920 - 2009
William Wayne Justice was a Texan of the highest order; born in Athens in 1920, he died in Austin in 2009, just four months shy of his 90th birthday. He attended the University of Texas as an undergraduate and for law school, and no one was a bigger fan of UT football. He seemed destined to follow the law; when he was only seven, his beloved father changed the name of his law firm to “W.D. Justice & Son.” Wayne was appointed judge in the Eastern District of Texas in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, two months after Dr. King’s murder. Tumult lay ahead. In 1998 he took senior status and moved from Tyler to Austin, where he continued to sit as a judge in the Western District until shortly before his death. He is survived by his wife, the former Sue Rowan, his daughter Ellen Justice, her husband Eric Leibrock, his granddaughter Jane Justice Leibrock, and a large family of devoted former law clerks.
Judge Justice loved to attend annual meetings of the Philosophical Society, whatever the topic. When he was no longer able to zip around the state in his snappy sports car (usually driving too fast), a friend and I had the privilege of driving him to the meetings, where we enjoyed his insatiable curiosity and insightful commentary during the sessions, his wit and charm during the social hours. He was a charming raconteur whose stories recounted remarkable chapters of Texas history.
No federal district judge has had a bigger impact on the State of Texas than William Wayne Justice. In his more than forty years on the bench, Judge Justice worked courageously to protect civil rights, uphold constitutional freedoms, and ensure equal justice for all. He safeguarded the rights of minorities, the poor, and the politically powerless. In a birthday tribute to his beloved colleague, Judge Keith Ellison praised Judge Justice, “He has always shown a gentle identification with the oppressed and a towering rage against the oppressor.” All would agree that he lived up to the destiny of his name, “Judge Justice.”
The landmark decision, Ruiz v. Estelle, is regarded by many as the most successful prison reform case in the country. Judge Justice also presided over a statewide suit to enforce Brown v. The Board of Education in Texas. He upheld the concept of one-person-one-vote, a ruling that corrected the dilution of voting rights in the state.
In addressing the rights of the accused, Judge Justice promoted the due-process model of criminal justice, insisting that if individual rights are taken away from criminal defendants, they can also be taken away from lawyers, clergy, businessmen, and journalists. Judge Justice’s rulings required desegregation in public housing, protected civil rights in employment, and abolished unnecessary institutionalization of the mentally retarded.
He considered his most important decision to be the ruling that children of undocumented aliens are entitled to a tuition-free education under the equal protection clause, stating that “it is senseless for an enlightened society to deprive any children of an elementary education.” For more than thirty years, millions of children have received an education because of this courageous ruling in Plyler v. Doe.
Although his rulings were often controversial, he has been widely celebrated for his diligent protection of civil liberties and constitutional rights. Former Lt. Governor Bill Hobby wrote, “Judge Justice dragged Texas into the 20th century. God bless him. He was very unpopular, but he was doing the right thing.” The University of Texas School of Law has established the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law; the national law firm of Skaden Arps presented him with its first prestigious Morris Dees Award. His many contributions to human dignity and civil rights have been recounted by Frank Kemerer in William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography.
Judge Justice has written a remarkable chapter in the jurisprudence of this state; this modest, courteous, and gentle man was an unassuming “giant in Texas history.” Happily he has been memorialized in the Texas State Cemetery for the benefit of future students of Texas history. Judge Ellison delivered this fitting eulogy: “No one else cared as much, no one else did as much, no one else mattered as much as William Wayne Justice…Wayne strapped to his slender back all that was best in our system of laws and in ourselves, and pushed upwards, through sunshine and shadow, towards a higher and finer concept of justice….” Yes, destiny was in the name.
ELMER STEPHEN KELTON
1926 – 2009
At the founding meeting of the Texas Institute of Letters in Dallas in 1936, J. Frank Dobie reminded his audience that "great literature transcends its native land, but there is none that I know of that ignores its own soil." That could certainly be said of Elmer Kelton’s writing. He never forgot his native soil of West Texas and the world is richer for that and Texas literature is somehow smaller now that he is gone.
Elmer Kelton was born at the Horse Camp on the Five Wells Ranch outside of Andrews Texas, where his grandfather was foreman, and raised on the McElroy Ranch near Crane, Texas, where his father, Buck Kelton, was foreman. Although he was raised in a family of cowboys and on a ranch and learned about the cattle business, Elmer Kelton was always bookish and according to him, not much of a cowboy. There is a very telling photograph of him as a boy sitting under a wagon reading a book while ranch activity swirls around him. “My three younger brothers were all better cowboys than I was. I got lost a lot—turns out I was nearsighted. We’d go out to gather cattle and if they were 100 yards away I’d miss ‘em. Dad told me pretty early I’d better find some other way to make a living.” Elmer wrote in his autobiography, “Dad gave me every chance to learn to be a cowboy. I was probably the greatest failure of his life. I was always better at talking about it, and writing about it, than I ever was at doing it.”
When Elmer suggested that he wanted to be a writer and attend the University of Texas to become a journalist, Buck Kelton, according to Elmer, gave him a look that would kill Johnson grass and replied, “that’s the way it is with you kids nowadays—you all want to make a living without having to work for it.” Thank goodness Buck relented, for Texas literature would be less without the work of Elmer Kelton just as Texas would be less without Elmer Kelton the man.
Elmer attended The University of Texas at Austin from 1942–44, went into the U. S. Army, serving in Europe, where he met his Austrian-born wife, Ann. He returned to The University of Texas from 1946–48, and earned a degree in journalism. He would in 2002 be declared a Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Texas, the highest alumni award given by the university, but Buck, unfortunately, would not live to see his bookish son receive that honor. Nor would he live to see Elmer receive two honorary doctorates from Hardin-Simmons University and Texas Tech University. Elmer said that Buck did help him in his writing with details on matters from windmill raising to castrating a colt. Elmer also listened to the stories told by the cowboys. He loved Westerns as a child, reading everything from Zane Grey to Roy Rogers, but “I knew the difference between fantasy and the reality I saw around me all the time. The reality was muddy and bloody and hot and cold. I wanted to write about cowboy life as I saw it to be.”
Elmer made his living as a journalist with the San Angelo Standard-Times for fifteen years, five years as editor at Sheep and Goat Raiser Magazine and twenty-two years as editor of Livestock Weekly, from which he retired in 1990. His articles have also appeared in Texas Monthly, The Writer and Roundup. Though Elmer was not a cowboy, he knew much about the business. As he traveled Texas gathering news about the livestock business, he also gathered insights and stories that helped him create tales about Texas. While he was plying his trade as a journalist, he was also a part-time novelist. This “part-time novelist” wrote more than 60 books, including the text for art books by western artists.
His body of work places him with the major writers of his time, including literary works that happened to have the West as a setting. He won several coveted Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City for The Time It Never Rained, The Good Old Boys, The Man Who Rode Midnight and the text for The Art of Howard Terpning. He won an astounding seven Spur Awards—the equivalent of a Pulitzer with Western writers—from Western Writers of America for Buffalo Wagons, The Day the Cowboys Quit, The Time It Never Rained, Eye of the Hawk, Slaughter, The Far Canyon and The Way of the Coyote. The Good Ole Boys was made into a television movie in a project by Tommy Lee Jones, who wrote the screen play, directed and starred in the movie. Elmer’s other awards include the Saddleman Award from Western Writers of America, their highest honor, for his distinguished body of work. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association and the Lon Tinkle Award for a lifetime of excellence in letters from the Texas Institute of Letters, among many other honors.
Although he was originally considered a “Western” writer, his work began being viewed as more universal. Elmer often characterized his characters as “people like me; common people, usually, not overly brave and certainly not foolhardy. Louis L’Amour’s characters are 8 feet tall and invincible. Mine are 5 feet 8 and nervous.” His characters also come to life on well-crafted pages. Judy Alter, one of his publishers, wrote that he began to “use the western setting as a vehicle for studying mankind, rather than as an end in itself,” in novels that “are characterized thematically by the moral complexities wrought in men’s lives by change and stylistically by narrative voice that speaks clearly of West Texas.”
“My primary theme has always been change and how people adapt to it or don’t adapt,” says Kelton. He resists the temptation to write happy endings for characters who cannot change with the times. “My dad told me the history of a lot of the ranches and ranch operators in the Midland-Odessa country,” says Kelton. “He knew most of them and cowboyed for a lot of them in his youth. No matter how funny Dad’s story was, it usually tended to end on a sad note. Invariably the rancher seemed to have gone broke eventually and lost it all.”
All through Kelton’s work is his love of West Texas. He loved the land in spite of its droughts and sometimes hardscrabble harshness. He writes in The Day the Cowboys Quit, “Some people would never understand the hold this land could take on a man if he stayed rooted long enough in one spot to develop a communion with the grass-blanketed earth, to begin to feel and fall in with the rhythms of the changing seasons. There was a pulse in this land, like the pulse in a man, though most people never paused long enough to sense it.”
His novels were always well researched for historical accuracy, and one thing about them, they were always clean enough for any member of the family to read. A long-time member of the Texas Folklore Society and the Texas State Historical Association, Elmer rarely missed the meetings, always sitting attentively listening and taking notes as papers were given. He also gave papers of his own and numerous speeches to writing groups. One of his favorites to give was titled “Fiction Writers Are Liars and Thieves,” in which he confesses, “someone has said that fiction by definition is a lie. By extension this means that fiction writers are liars. In that context, I will admit to it, and go a step further. I will say that fiction writers are liars and thieves.”
Elmer Kelton remained always a “genuine, unaffected, kind and gentle man, the sort who, in person, makes you want to hunker down and listen to his stories, his voice, and his wisdom,” writes Judy Alter. He was generous with his time and knowledge, always having time to talk about books and writing, and what was going on in everyone’s lives. One of the songs played at his funeral was “The Eyes of Texas.” The last song played was “Happy Trails,” a most fitting note to send Elmer out on.
Elmer is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann Kelton of San Angelo, sons Gary Kelton of Plainview and Steve Kelton of San Angelo, with wife Karen McGinnis, and daughter Kathy Kelton, also of San Angelo and companion Pat Hennigan. He and Ann have four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He is also survived by his brothers, Merle and wife Ann of May, Texas, Bill and wife Pat of Atlanta, Texas, and Eugene and wife Peggy of McCamey, and a host of friends who followed his work and loved Elmer and Ann.
LOWELL H. LEBERMANN, JR.
1939 – 2009
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
July 16, 2009
Larry R. Faulkner, President Emeritus
The University of Texas at Austin
It is a special privilege for me to have been asked to contribute here today. Distinguished friends of Lowell have already spoken—friends who knew him for decades and were witnesses to many chapters in his life. By comparison, I was a latecomer.
I can recall exactly the moment when Lowell and I first met. It was at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas in the fall of 1997. He was a Regent and was chair of the search committee for a new president of The University. I was a candidate, making my first face-to-face contact with the committee. Things evolved from there; and in the end, Lowell was—for better or worse—stuck with me. From the beginning, Lowell treated Mary Ann and me with grace and generosity and wisdom. He taught us patiently. He was a loyal and trustworthy ally. We will always remain indebted to this remarkable man.
• • •
What does any of us see in the mind’s eye when we think of Lowell Lebermann? The images and memories swirl: A marvelous sense of style and grace. The very epitome of panache. As close to an aristocratic manner as becomes any American—almost a “Texas Count.” Where did he acquire all that? No matter. He brought it off naturally and combined it perfectly with a daring sense of humor. Did you ever meet anyone like him anywhere else? I think not. Have you wished you could pull it off, too? I imagine so. Don’t try.
• • •
I associate other qualities, too, with Lowell:
Courage is at the fore. Every single person here must have admired his lion-like commitment never to give in to the limitations of his blindness. Each of us can recall little and big manifestations of that commitment: Like always being in the stands at football games. Like serving with distinction as the fundraising leader for the Suida-Manning Collection of paintings and drawings. Like bringing energy and enthusiasm to architectural reviews. What personal strength it must have taken to follow through, time after time, never to give in.
Brilliance is the second quality I want to cite, for it took brilliance indeed to organize in a manner that could support a life with such impact: The special logistics, the system of aides, the manner of using the aides—all of that made it possible for him to sustain the energetic participation that we all saw.
But there was more. I will always remember the admiring comment made by UT’s great chemist Allen Bard, who served on Lowell’s 1997 presidential search committee. “He has to keep it all in his head,” Al marveled, noting the scale and detail of knowledge that Lowell had to command first-hand, while the rest of us referred to notes and files and photos and computer records. Lowell could not have achieved anything near the impact of his life without brilliance of mind and organization.
• • •
Our friend, Lowell Lebermann, was as complex and flavorful as a fine Bordeaux. He was as luminous and expressive as a Monet. As elegant and sparkling as a Chopin waltz. His civility nudged his colleagues toward wiser, truer, and more generous actions. He believed firmly in a better future and in the importance of great institutions to that future—his university high among them. He put strong effort where his beliefs were. We have all been fortunate beneficiaries of this great soul, the like of which we shall not see again. • • •
Farewell, good friend. The eyes of Texas are misty today with loss, as we honor you with love and gratitude for a life lived splendidly among us.
JOHN DEAN MOSELEY
1915 - 2009
John Dean Moseley, educational leader and president emeritus of Austin College, passed from this life on March 11, 2009. Universally called “John D.” by his thousands of friends, students, colleagues, and associates, he was born in Greenville, Texas on November 17, 1915. Dr. Moseley spent his youth there before graduating in 1936 from what is now Texas A&M University at Commerce. He earned a doctor of law degree from the University of Texas, also receiving an M. A. in public administration from that same school in 1942. Active as a layperson in church activities starting in his adolescent years, he was particularly involved with the Presbyterian Youth Council while a university student. It was as a leader in that organization that he met his wife Sara Bernice, with whom he would forge a sixty-eight year partnership in educational leadership, church involvement, and civic accomplishment.
The early years of World War II found Dr. Moseley in Washington, D.C. where he served as a member of the mobilization team that organized the Office of Price Administration, eventually becoming director of administrative services for that organization. During the postwar years, he returned to Texas where Governor Allan Shivers appointed him as the first director of the newly-founded Texas Legislative Council in Austin. This state agency was designed to provide research support and information for the legislature and state government. One of his first projects was to conduct a full-scale review of higher education in Texas which resulted in the creation of the State Higher Education Coordinating Board. Dr. Moseley also continued his role as a church lay leader, serving as director of a special committee instituted by the Synod of Texas to study the Presbyterian schools in the state.
These activities, in part, resulted in his becoming president of Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1953, a position he would hold until his retirement from that post in 1978, continuing an additional three years as chancellor. During his career at Austin College, Dr. Moseley reshaped that institution into one of the premier private liberal arts colleges in the nation. He embarked on an aggressive program of faculty development, curricular innovation, and co-curricular advancement that attracted national attention. He excelled at finding significant support for his many changes at the college, in the process attracting major organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and others as benefactors. He also greatly expanded the relationship between Austin College and the philanthropic community of the greater Southwest.
Dr. Moseley was instrumental in the forming of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas and also active in securing legislation to create the Texas Tuition Equalization Grant. He served as chair of the Association of American Colleges, on the board of directors of the American Council on Education, and on the Commission on Standards for Colleges and Universities of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He was president of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, an officer and on the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the executive director of the National Congress on Church-Related Colleges and Universities. Moseley received numerous local, state, and national awards for his leadership in higher education and in the Presbyterian Church.
By the time Dr. Moseley left the presidency of Austin College, over three-quarters of the buildings on campus had been constructed or significantly remodeled. The college’s liberal arts curriculum had transformed the institution into a trend-setting innovator in the undergraduate study of the arts and sciences. Many of the interdisciplinary programs he put into place became models for other colleges and universities. He entered full retirement in 1981 when he stepped down as chancellor of Austin College, although he continued to serve as an active consultant on educational development across the nation until ill-health slowed his pace in recent years.
As one of his Austin College faculty members later recalled of Dr. Moseley: "He thought big, he acted big, and he expected everyone around him to have optimistic visions of the future. That was very much his hallmark. He was always thinking at least ten years into the future and ahead of everyone else around him." John D. Moseley is survived by his wife, Sara Bernice Moseley, and their three children: Sara Caroline Moseley of Dallas; John Dean Moseley Jr., and Alice Butler of Irving; and Rebecca Moseley Gafford and her husband, Ron, also of Dallas; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
DORMAN HAYWARD WINFREY
1924 – 2009
Dorman Hayward Winfrey—prolific Texas historian, TSHA president, and Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives for nearly a quarter century—died on March 28, 2009, at the age of eighty-four.
Born on September 4, 1924, in Henderson, Texas, Winfrey loved reading and writing history from an early age, publishing his first article, “New Birmingham, Texas,” in the Junior Historian (Vol. III, January 1943). In the work, TSHA Director H. Bailey Carroll detected a budding historian and told Winfrey, before the young man left for service with the 69th Infantry Division in World War II, to “come see me” after he returned. Winfrey did and Carroll put him to work on the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the Handbook of Texas for twelve years (1946–1958) while Winfrey earned both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in History at the University of Texas. Carroll subsequently supervised Winfrey’s doctoral study, completed in 1962.
Winfrey was recruited to become state archivist in 1958 after the dismissal of the previous holder of that position, which began his career of being called on to bring stability and calm in the wake of upset and tension resulting from personnel problems. University of Texas Chancellor Harry H. Ransom hired him two years later to take charge of the University Archives in similar circumstances. Finally, the Texas Library and Historical Commission concurred with Governor Price Daniel, who developed a close friendship through talking Texas history with Winfrey, and selecting him to resolve the difficulties in the leadership of the Texas State Library and Archives by appointing him the Director and Librarian. In its first meeting after Winfrey began the job on January 1, 1962, the commission officially thanked him for instituting the congenial leadership it sought. Winfrey retired from the position on November 30, 1986.
Being a Texas historian defined Dorman Winfrey. A dedicated and active supporter of the Texas State Historical Association from his days as a Junior Historian and TSHA staff member, Winfrey was elected a Fellow, served on Council and as President (1971–1972), and wrote Seventy-Five Years of Texas History: The Texas State Historical Association, 1897– 1972 (1975). In addition to preparing numerous articles for the Handbook of Texas while on the TSHA staff, he edited The Texas Indian Papers (4 vols.; 1959–1961) while State Archivist and co-edited a fifth volume (1966) with James M. Day. His “A History of Rusk County” (1961) and “Julien Sidney Devereux and his Monte Verdi Plantation” (1964) each won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. He contributed to seven Texian Press books on the Heroes (1964), Missions (1965), Frontier Forts (1966), Battles (1967), Flags (1968), Rangers (1969), and Capitols (1970) of Texas. Among his most widely quoted articles is “The Texan Archive War of 1842,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 64 (October 1960).
A life-long aficionado of music, Winfrey wrote “Arturo Toscanini in Texas: The 1950 NBC Symphony Orchestra Tour” (1967) and was a founding member of the International Festival Institute at Round Top. Sought after to fill leadership positions, he was elected to the Councils of the Society of American Archivists (of which he was a fellow) and the American Association for State and Local History. He served the Philosophical Society of Texas not only as Secretary, but also as historian, writing A History of the Philosophical Society of Texas, 1837–1987 (1987). He was a member the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Library Association.
In 1948 at the beginning of Winfrey’s career, Walter Prescott Webb wrote of his service on the TSHA staff that, “The cheerful Dorman Winfrey is the general factotum who does about everything any of the others asks him to do, does it cheerfully and well.” By the end of his career, he had become, in TSHA Historian Richard McCaslin’s analysis, a prime example of the dedicated member who has sustained the TSHA throughout its life. Winfrey and his wife Ruth Carolyn were honored in 1990 when the Association established the Dorman H. and Ruth Carolyn Winfrey Junior Historian Award, which is given to a chapter sponsor who inspires students in the research and writing of Texas history.
Dorman H. Winfrey is buried in his ancestral Welch Family Cemetery in Henderson.
David B. Gracy II