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The Honorable Larry Jay Craddock

Obituary for The Honorable Larry Jay Craddock

June 23, 1939 - July 18, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 79

Obituary

Judge Larry Jay Craddock, 79, died July 18, 2018. Judge Craddock, a lifelong resident of Austin, served 46 years as an attorney and administrative law judge for the State of Texas. He was retired but continued to serve in a volunteer capacity with several prominent legal organizations, including the American Bar Association Judicial Division, the National Association of Administrative Law Judges and the National Judicial College.

Judge Craddock was born on June 23, 1939 in Austin, where his father owned and operated various local businesses (including Craddock Furniture on East 6th Street and, at the time of his birth, a miniature golf course), and his maternal grandfather owned and operated the Ritz movie theater. Judge Craddock was a 1957 graduate of Austin High School.

A lover of art, movies, music, food, travel, and the law, Judge Craddock lived a rich and varied life. As a teenager, he found ways, by hook or by crook, to see Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Louis Armstrong play live. With his father and friends, he paddled a canoe from Central Texas to the mouth of the Colorado River at Matagorda Beach.

He and his wife Mary spent much of their 57 years together exploring different parts of Mexico, often with their two young daughters in tow. They also traveled together to Europe, Asia, and South America as well as all over the United States. The family spent many happy weekends together at a clapboard cabin in Matagorda, playing Scrabble, reading, and looking for the best crab cakes the town had to offer.

Judge Craddock attended The University of Texas. It was there that he met Mary Elizabeth Murphy of Midland, whom he married after a courtship on December 23, 1960. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1964. Judge Craddock spent eight years with the Texas Attorney General's Office, 11 years as an attorney with the Texas Governor's Office under four different governors, and five years as general counsel to Texas Comptroller Bob Bullock. He spent 18 years as the administrative law judge for the Finance Commission of Texas.

Upon his retirement from state government, he went into private practice and served as an impartial due-process administrative law judge in special education litigation.

He also began devoting time to volunteer work. That effort was focused on twin passions. The first was working, as part of the Sixth Street Austin Association, to transform the East 6th Street strip where he had spent so much of his time as a boy into a more family friendly environment.

The second was tireless advocacy to elevate the practice of administrative law nationwide. Judge Craddock was a passionate advocate for the protection of judicial independence among administrative law judges (ALJs), drafting policies and resolutions, pushing forward landmark research, and most importantly, advocating, identifying and recruiting capable leaders who could carry on the work once he could not. In this he was successful. As one colleague noted, "for years to come we will be standing in the shade of the administrative law tree that Larry planted."

Judge Craddock died peacefully at home. He will be dearly missed by his family, and by scores of friends from every era of his life, from high school to the judicial organizations with which he served, to those he made at the many local restaurants he loved. He is survived by his beloved wife Mary; his sister Bette Linbeck of Houston; his daughters, Ashley Craddock of Austin and Blair Craddock of McAllen; his grandchildren, Riley Meacham and Rex Gilliland; his sons-in-law, Cisco Ryder Gilliland and Gary Cooper; and his nieces and nephew, Terry Smith, Molly Lamme, and Townes Pressler, Jr., all of Houston.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Sunday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mercury Hall at 615 Cardinal Lane in Austin.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to:

MD Anderson Cancer Center
PO Box 4464
Houston, Texas 77210-4464

The National Judicial College
Scholarship Fund
Judicial College Building/MS 358
Reno, NV 89557

Chicago Appleseed Fund For Justice
c/o Malcolm C. Rich, Executive Director
750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Fourth Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to:
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center
    PO Box 4464
    Houston, TX 77210-4464
  • The National Judicial College Scholarship Fund
    Judicial College Building/MS 358
    Reno, NV 89557
  • Chicago Appleseed Fund For Justice
    c/o Malcolm C. Rich, Executive Director
    750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Fourth Floor
    Chicago, IL 60611

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3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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