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“When I hear the name Justice Garwood, I remember so many people saying that he was one of the very best in Texas jurists. Thank you for your service...Read More »
1 of 18 | Posted by: Grace Germany - Austin, TX

“Judge Garwood was instrumental in the founding and perpetuation of Texas' conservative movement. As a former State Chairman of the Young...Read More »
2 of 18 | Posted by: Brent Tantillo - Pembroke Pines, FL

“Deepest sympathies to all the family. ”
3 of 18 | Posted by: BURRELL & KAREN JOHNSTON - Austin, TX

“Just a brief note to express my condolences to the Garwood family. I recall Will as a person willing to debate forcefully and well on any subject. ...Read More »
4 of 18 | Posted by: James E Bacon - Redding, CT

“OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH ALL THE GARWOOD FAMILY. FROM ALL THE MCASHAN FAMILY. ”
5 of 18 | Posted by: Martha McAshan Guerin - Austin, TX

“Tall timber has fallen. Will was a blessing to all of us. Condolences and warmest wishes to the Garwood family. ”
6 of 18 | Posted by: Bill Bednar - Austin, TX

“My sincere condolences to the family of Judge Garwood. His life touched so many. His legacy will live on. ”
7 of 18 | Posted by: Rosemary Edwards, Travis County Republican Party Chair

“This judge - you can tell by reading, he was a 100% REAL AMERICAN, and cared deeply for the American People. Whom ever has to replace him BEST BE...Read More »
8 of 18 | Posted by: Sarah L. McCloud

“Judge Garwood was a true gentleman, a solid conservative, and an outstanding jurist who came from solid stock. I was more closely associated with...Read More »
9 of 18 | Posted by: Wayne Thorburn - Austin, TX

“Judge Garwood was a terrific mentor. In the year that a clerked for him, he taught me so much about the law and how to think through legal issues. ...Read More »
10 of 18 | Posted by: Mark Dundon - New York, NY

“Charles Spurgeon once wrote: "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me...Read More »
11 of 18 | Posted by: Raul Munoz - Killeen, TX

“I clerked for Judge Garwood from 1994-1995. The experience, even though just a year, shaped enormously who I became as a lawyer and as a person. ...Read More »
12 of 18 | Posted by: Jack Johnson - New York City, NY

“My brother Reed and I have so many fond memories of Judge Garwood when we were growing up; he was not only a close friend and colleague of my father...Read More »
13 of 18 | Posted by: Anne Hearon Rambo

“Eugene PalmerAustin, Texas ”
14 of 18 | Posted by: A friend

“Thank you, William, for your service to our country. ”
15 of 18 | Posted by: Col George O Lewis, USAF (Ret) - TX

“Before I first met Judge Garwood, I had smoked a pipe for 11 years, since I was in college. Knowing that some people are put off by the smell of...Read More »
16 of 18 | Posted by: Chris Ward - Former law clerk

“You are all in my constant prayers. I was blessed to have Judge Garwood in my life as employer, mentor, and friend, and he is sorely missed. God...Read More »
17 of 18 | Posted by: Chris Ward - Austin, TX

“Our deepest sympathy to the Garwood family. Cynthia and John Adkins ”
18 of 18 | Posted by: John Adkins - Houston, TX


Judge William Lockhart Garwood, 79, of Austin, Texas, died Thursday, July 14, 2011. The son of W. St. John and Ellen Clayton Garwood, he was born in Houston, Texas, on October 29, 1931.

He was a graduate of Middlesex School, Concorde Massachusetts, and Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, class of 1952. He received his LLB with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1955, where he ranked first in his class all three years while still enjoying a regular beer at Sholtz’s. His law school honorary memberships included Order of the Coif, Chancellors (Grand Chancellor), Texas Law Review (Associate Editor), and Phi Delta Phi (legal fraternity). He was admitted to the Texas State Bar in 1955 and after graduation served as law clerk to Judge John Brown of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. When his clerkship ended in 1956, Will served three years in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the Pentagon defense appellate division. In 1955 Judge Garwood married Merle Haffler of Lexington, Kentucky. Their’s was a loving marriage of 55 years.

He returned to Texas in 1959 and joined the firm of Graves, Dougherty & Gee in Austin, later known as Graves, Dougherty, Hearon, Moody and Garwood. Will’s father, Judge W. St. John Garwood, had recently retired from the Texas Supreme Court and joined the firm in an “of counsel” role. Given the opportunity to practice with his father, he was persuaded to join the firm as an associate; he spent the next twenty years in the general practice of law. In 1979, he was appointed by Governor Clements to the Texas Supreme Court. Will was the first Republican since reconstruction to serve on the Texas Supreme Court; he was also the only son of a former Justice to serve on the Texas Supreme Court. In 1981, he was appointed by President Reagan to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where he served for 30 years from 1981 to present. From 1994 to 2001, he served on the advisory committee on Appellate Rules, Judicial Conference of the United States, serving as Chairman from 1997-2001. He continued to work until he died, even making plans for his next court appearance from his hospital bed.

Judge Garwood leaves behind a legacy as one of the outstanding and distinguished jurists of our time. His decisions were marked by their scholarship, intellect, and attention to detail. Two of his opinions in particular stand out for their singular importance in our constitutional law. In United States v. Lopez (1993) Judge Garwood held the Gun Free School Zones Act invalid as beyond the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause. The Court’s opinion was then affirmed by the U S Supreme Court in an opinion by Justice Rehnquist, which adopted Judge Garwood’s approach to indiscriminant Congressional reliance on the Commerce Clause as a basis for legislation. In United States v. Emerson (2001) he wrote that the Second Amendment protects individuals in their right to bear arms, subject to reasonable restrictions, and those rights are not limited to the militia. In his long career as a Judge his intellectual and personal qualities were combined with an unwavering dedication to constitutional principles and the Rule of Law.

Among numerous professional affiliations, he was a member of the American Judicature Society, the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court, and the Federalist Society, and a Life Member of the American Law Institute and Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

In June of this year, the Texas Center for Legal Ethics presented Will with the Chief Justice Pope Professionalism Award which exemplifies the highest standard of professional ethics. In 2004 the Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference in Austin was dedicated to him. Other honors and awards include the Leon Green Award and the Travis County Bar Association Distinguished Lawyer Award. The University of Texas Law School holds the Judge William L. Garwood Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law.

Throughout his life, Will was actively involved in numerous social and civic organizations. He served as the head of the Austin Committee for Fair Housing in the late 1960s. He was Director and past President of Child and Family Service of Austin, and Trustee and past President of St Andrew’s Episcopal School. He served on the Community Council of Austin and Travis County, the United Fund of Austin and Travis County, the Human Opportunities Corporation of Austin and Travis County, the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center of Austin and Travis County, the Austin Town and Gown, and the Salvation Army of Austin, where he served from 1972 until his death (receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award). He was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother St. John Garwood, Jr., and his two nephews. He is survived by his loving wife Merle, his son Will Garwood, Jr. and daughter-in-law Debbie, his daughter Mary Garwood Yancy and son-in-law Howard Yancy, his grandchildren Will Garwood, III, Laura Garwood Rozelle and husband Irby Rozelle, Max Yancy, Elliott Yancy, Meghan Yancy and Cameron Yancy. He is also survived by his niece Susan Garwood, her husband George Peterkin III, their children John and Kate Peterkin.

A visitation and reception will be held on Monday, July 18, 2011 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home. Private graveside services will be held at the Texas State Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 29th at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Rd., Austin, Texas.

A gentleman, an outstanding intellect but down-to-earth and kind to the core, a devoted and loving family man, Judge Garwood will be sorely missed by his family, friends and colleagues in Austin, Houston, New Orleans and around the country.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Judge Garwood’s memory may be made to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1000, Austin, Texas, 78767.