MehaffyWeber regretfully announces the passing of Dewey Jude Gonsoulin, Sr. – a founding member of our firm and a giant in the legal industry.
“Dewey was a most remarkable human being,” commented present-day Managing Shareholder Bob Black. “He was a brilliant lawyer but also utterly devoted to his family. He was a great friend to many and nourished those friendship to the end of his days. We will miss him and the example he set.”
Following his graduation from Rice Institute (now known as Rice University), Dewey entered the University of Texas Law School in September of 1951 and joined the U.S. Army R.O.T.C. He graduated three years later from law school in May of 1954 both with honors and as a Distinguished Military Graduate. During his time at UT Law School, he served on the Texas Law Review as a case note editor and was a member of the honorary law fraternity, Phi Delta Phi.
Upon graduating from law school in 1954, he entered the U.S. Army full-time and received a Second Lieutenant commission in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. He was stationed in Japan, and after two years of service was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant of the Army.
Dewey returned to Houston and interviewed with Keith, Mehaffy, & Weber in the nearby town of Beaumont. He met with the firm’s partner attorneys on October 1,1956 and was offered an associate position on the spot. He practiced there for nearly 60 years. For many years, he was a name partner in what became Mehaffy, Weber, Keith & Gonsoulin; however, at his own recommendation, the firm rebranded itself in keeping with a growing trend of two-name firms to MehaffyWeber – the name it retains today.
As he moved through the firm ranks of associate, partner and later “Of Counsel,” he built an extraordinary career as a trial lawyer and appellate law specialist. He was one of the first lawyers to be Board Certified in Labor Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1975 and was later Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law in 1989. Over his long career, Dewey argued six times before the Texas Supreme Court and countless times in front of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A leader in the profession, Dewey served as president of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (TADC), and the Jefferson County Bar Association, where he was also awarded the Blackstone Award. In 1985, he was inducted as a Fellow of the distinguished American College of Trial Lawyers, and he was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. In addition, he was a faculty member of the Trial Academy for the International Association of Defense Counsel. While he was proud of these accolades, more important to him was his reputation for being an honest, ethical member of the legal community. His integrity was unquestioned, and he was often praised for taking the time to mentor young attorneys regardless of whether they were members of his firm or opposing counsel.
Dewey joins his beloved wife of 56 years, Jean J. Gonsoulin, who preceded him on June 17, 2015. Dewey is survived by his three children: Jean E. Gonsoulin of Pasadena, CA; Anne G. Figueiras of Beaumont, TX; and Dewey J. Gonsoulin, Jr. and his wife, Karen, of Houston, TX.; his eight grandchildren: Caroline Kirby and her husband Aaron Kirby of Overland Park, KS; Catherine Pick and her husband Cullen of Houston, TX; Mark Figueiras of Houston, TX; Michael Figueiras of New York, NY; Elizabeth Figueiras of Beaumont, TX; Dewey Gonsoulin III, of Houston, TX; Emily Gonsoulin of Houston, TX; and Robert Gonsoulin of Houston, TX; his brother Thomas P. Gonsoulin and wife, Anne; and his beloved cousin Julie “Sis” Cowan and her husband Finis Cowan, Dewey’s lifelong best friend. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Chase and Harris Kirby, and his many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert F. Gonsoulin and Elma B. Gonsoulin, his brother, Robert F. Gonsoulin, Jr. and his wife Frances; his brother-in-law Dr. R. “Dick” Gerald Johnson; and his father- and mother-in-law, R. Gerald Johnson and Lois B. Johnson. He will be missed by countless friends and colleagues.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dewey Jude Gonsoulin, Sr. Endowment for Excellence Scholarship in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, www.UTLSF.org/gonsoulin; to St. Jude’s Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont, Texas, 77706-3239, https://osvhub.com/stjudebmt/funds; or to an organization of your choice.
For a full transcript of his obituary, please visit: https://broussards1889.com/index.php/memorials/item/dewey-gonsoulin-sr