MCGEE, WILLIAM SEARS (1917 ~ 2006). The following is an obituary for former Texas Supreme Court Justice William Sears McGee that was published in the Sunday, August 6, 2006 edition of the Austin American-Statesman.
"Former Texas Supreme Court Justice William Sears McGee passed away Friday night in Austin, Texas.
Judge McGee was born in Houston, Texas, on September 29, 1917. He attended Rice Institute (now Rice University) and the University of Texas School of Law where he received an L.L.B. in 1940. He practiced law in Houston for three years before serving three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After his service in the military, he returned to private practice with Sears, Blades, Moore & Kennerly, in Houston, and taught civil procedure at the University of Houston College of Law.
In 1948, he was elected to the Harris County Court at Law and was twice reelected to that post. In 1954, Governor Allan Shivers appointed him to the newly-created 151st District Court where he served for one year before resuming private practice. While in private practice, he was appointed Master of Chancery over the City of Houston's class action suit against Houston Ship Channel polluters. In 1958, he was elected to the 55th District Court, where he served until 1968.
In 1968, Judge McGee was elected to the Texas Supreme Court and was reelected for two additional six year terms. He was the senior justice of the court when he retired in 1986. Over the course of his eighteen years on the court, Judge McGee authored hundreds of opinions and a number of noteworthy dissents which influenced or governed major areas of Texas jurisprudence for the succeeding quarter century.
In addition to his distinguished judicial record, he served on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas; member of the Judicial Section Legislative Committee; secretary-treasurer and vice president of the Houston Junior Bar Association; charter member of the Texas Bar Foundation; member of the Houston, Texas, and American Bar Associations; and, the American Judicature Society.
He served as a vestryman at Palmer Episcopal Church in Houston; a director of the central branch of the Y.M.C.A.; a member of the Houston Community Council; president of the Houston Council for Deaf Children; member of Phi Delta Theta, Sons of Hermann, S.P.J.S.T.; and, the Houston Rose Society.
Judge McGee is survived by his wife, Mary Beth McGee (formerly Mary Beth Peterson of Yoakum, Texas). He is also survived by his six children, James Sears McGee and wife Marni; Mary Gray McGee, and husband, Joe Piunno; Claire Emigh, and husband, Glenn; Alice McGee and partner, Colleen Murphy; George McGee and wife, Andrea; Erwin McGee and wife, Katherine; 15 grandchildren, Elizabeth, Claude, Nina, Bethany, Juliette, Maya, Aiyana, Ruben, Ernie, Hanna, George, John, Will, Emily, Albert; and one great-grandchild, Kai.
Memorial services are pending; burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Settlement Club of Austin, 1600 Peyton Gin Road, Austin, Texas 78758."
Further information available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.