Larry Farish York, age 72, died on Dec. 8, 2013 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
Larry was born in Palestine, Texas on Jan. 7, 1941 to Reba and A.T. “Dick” York.
He graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 1964. Larry was associate editor of the Texas Law Review, a member of Chancellors, president of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, and was selected as Outstanding Senior. He joined the firm of Baker, Botts, Shepherd & Coates in Houston, where he worked for eight years before being appointed in 1973 as First Assistant Attorney General of Texas under the late John Hill. During his two years of service, Larry represented Texas in many high-profile cases, including Morales v. Turman, which resulted in sweeping reforms to juvenile justice; and Texas v. Lousiana, an original proceeding in the Supreme Court of the United States, which established the lateral boundary between the two states.
He returned to Baker Botts in Houston in 1974, and in 1982 was named partner-in-charge of the firm’s Austin office, serving in that role until 1994. In June 2001, along with Baker Botts colleagues Mary Keller and Scott Field, he formed the firm of York, Keller & Field. Larry became Of Counsel to McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore from 2008 until his death. In addition to his law practice, Larry was an adjunct professor at UT Law School. He taught Advanced Civil Litigation and was an instructor in the Actual Innocence Clinic, in which he assisted in exonerating two men unjustly accused of murder.
Larry was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court, and received the Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Austin Bar Association in 2005. He served on the Board of the Texas Youth Commission from 1986 to 1991, serving as Chairman of the Board for the last four years of his term. In 1995, the Commission’s halfway house in Corpus Christi was renamed York House to honor his service.
Larry had many interests and encouraged others to engage fully in life. He was a delighted and loving grandfather, pilot, sailor, hiker, reader, wannabe golfer, amateur pianist, and traveler, including special joy traveling to Zimbabwe in Africa. He was known for his East Texas roots, his love of the Texas Hill Country, and his dry sense of humor. He was a lifelong, avid Democrat. He worked hard, but also appreciated leisure in life, encouraging his children, friends, and young colleagues to do the same. In Larry’s honor, the Austin Bar Association is establishing the Larry York Mentoring Award to recognize other veteran lawyers who, like Larry, take a special interest in assisting young lawyers.
Larry is survived by his wife, Peggy Bradley; son, Robert York, of Alpharetta, Ga.; daughter, Amanda York Focke, and her husband, Thatcher, of Houston; and son, Andrew York, and his wife, Laura Brady, of Austin. He also is survived by two grandchildren, Clover Focke and Olive Focke of Houston; sister-in-law, Carolyn Critcher, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and by his first wife Pamela Browning, and her husband, Bill, of Alpharetta, Ga.
The family wishes to thank Heather Carlson, P.A., Gauri Varadhachary, M.D., and Matthew Katz, M.D. of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for their dedicated medical care. The family also thanks Lucile Kelly, Gary Snyder, Jan Dimmitt, and Jane Louis for their compassionate caregiving during the last months of Larry’s life.
A memorial service and reception honoring Larry’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 12, 2014 at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on the University of Texas campus, 2110 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78712. Valet parking will be provided.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, The University of Texas School of Law, Hospice Austin, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, (512) 452-8811. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com