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Arlen Dean Bynum

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Arlen Dean Bynum Obituary
Bynum, Arlen Dean "Spider" Spider Bynum was a fighter in the ring and in the courthouses of Texas. He fought his last fight on March 25, 2013. Besides family, his dog Freckles, and a host of friends, Spider had two passions in life: law and boxing. Spider began the practice of law in 1963 after having graduated from Abilene High School in 1953, Abilene Christian College in 1957, and Baylor University School of Law in 1963, where he was a member of the Delta Pheta Pi fraternity. He learned his craft under the tutelage and mentorship of legendary trial lawyer Henry Strasburger. Spider was a great trial lawyer, known for his ability to quickly memorize the names of all jurors when selecting a jury, a devastating cross examination, quick on his feet, a deft use of humor in the courtroom and renowned for having rarely suffered a defeat. Even when you lost to Spider, you couldn't be mad at him, for he always slipped you several cartoon caricatures he had drawn of you during the trial. He was a very talented cartoonist. Spider practiced primarily as an insurance defense lawyer, first with Strasburger & Price, then with his own firms, Atwell Malouf Musslewhite & Bynum, Bradshaw & Bynum, and finally as a solo practitioner in the Law Offices of Arlen Dean "Spider" Bynum. Toward the end of his career, Spider proved his talent and creativity by practicing both as a plaintiff and defense trial lawyer. By vote of his peers, Spider was listed in Best Lawyers of America from 1983 through 2013. He received the highest possible rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell with an overall peer rating of 5 out of 5. In 2012, Spider was selected into the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He had been named a Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly ever since its inception. Spider was admitted to practice before all Texas state and federal courts, the United States Supreme Court, and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits. Spider was an old school lawyer. His word was his bond. A handshake sealed the deal. Opposing lawyers learned quickly that confirming agreements, depositions, trial dates in writing was a personal affront to Spider which could result in a visit by Spider at your door, ready to engage in his second passion - boxing. In other words, if Spider said it was going to happen, it was going to happen without the necessity of written confirmation. Spider's passion for boxing began when Arlen Dean Bynum stepped into the Golden Gloves ring in Abilene as a flyweight. He was immediately tagged by coach Jack Turner with the nickname "Spider" because of his long, skinny arms. Rumor has it Spider fought successfully in every weight class from flyweight to heavyweight, but no one knows for sure how many fights he won for all news reports of his amateur boxing career have mysteriously disappeared. Spider was Chief of Officials for the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Tournament for over 30 years. He judged over 30 professional fights, including fights involving Larry Holmes, Salvador Sanchez and Julio Chavez. He refereed at least 11 professional bouts, and supervised the Mike Tyson/Pinklon Thomas bout in 1987. Spider was a strong advocate for boxing safety and was the primary drafter of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act in support of which he testified before Congress in 1999. He was a NABF legal advisor, WBC Special U.S. Counselor, and was appointed to the Texas Board of Licensing & Regulation by Governor Ann Richards. In 1989, he was president of the Dallas All Sports Association, the primary sponsoring organization for the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Tournament. In 2009, Spider was the first inductee into the Ring Talk Wall of Fame. A trip into Spider's law office was like touring a boxing museum. On his wall were autographed photographs of every major professional fighter for the last 40 years from Muhammad Ali to George Foreman to Joe Frazier to Mike Tyson to Sugar Ray Leonard to his closest personal boxing friend, Dallas' own welterweight champion, Curtis Cokes. Spider was a strong believer and advocate for civil rights. He was more than just a lawyer, boxing judge or referee, but was considered by many to be one of the best, most honest, hard working men in the boxing world. When the WBC stripped Graciano Rocchigiani of his 175 lb. title for the purpose of giving it to Roy Jones, Jr., Spider, then a lawyer representing the WBC and a member of the Board of Governors, resigned his position with the WBC in protest. Spider was predeceased by his parents, Alma May and Charles Preston Bynum. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, whom he met on a blind date, Charlsie alk/a St. Charlsie Bynum; Amy Bynum, son-in-law Dwayne King, and granddaughter Ella; Angela Bynum and John Neese; Andrea Bynum and husband, Chris Smith; Luke Kempf, and grandson Bryan Charles Bynum-Kempf; father-in-law Dr. Robert Nystrom; Freckles, Maggie, Ali and Boots. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Children's Medical Center Foundation, 2777 N. Stemmons Frwy., Suite 700, Dallas, TX 75207; Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, 2222 Welbom Street, Dallas, TX 75229; Dallas Companion Animal Project, c/o Dallas Animal Advocates, P.O. Box 794073, Dallas, TX 75379 or a . The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Juliette Fowler Pearl Nordan Care Center and Faith Presbyterian Hospice for their loving care of Spider. A celebration of Spider's life will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at Restland Memorial Cemetary, 13005 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75243. Pall bearers will be Ken Blassingame, Frank Branson, Dick Cole, Cliff Freeman, Burton Gilliam, David Harris, Roy Hodges, Marcial Mitchell, Joe Taylor and Dave Waldrop. Honorary pall bearers are Charlie Bradshaw, Ed "Hoss" Curry, Judge Robert Porter and William "Mack" Taylor.


Published in Dallas Morning News on Mar. 27, 2013
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