William Erwin Shull was welcomed into the world on Feb. 10th, 1949 in Elmira Heights, New York. Born to Warren and Dorothy, he was the younger of two boys. He enjoyed an idyllic American childhood, whether it was sledding down Reformatory Hill in the winters, camping at Keuka Lake in the summers, or playing sandlot baseball with his friends from dawn to dusk. He had a brilliant mind and a thirst for knowledge that was evident from a young age; as a boy, he would spend hours reading the World Book Encyclopedia. He was valedictorian of Edison High School in '67 where he set a record for the 50M freestyle, and then went on to study at Cornell University. During his time in Ithaca he found a home at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and on a chance trip to Wells College in nearby Aurora, he met his beloved wife and lifelong companion, Dawn. He graduated class of '71 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, and finished with an M.E. in '72.
Bill married Dawn in 1974, and after a brief stint as engineer at Eastman Kodak, he set his sights on a new goal: law. He and Dawn moved to Texas so Bill could study at the University of Houston. Upon graduating from the Bates School of Law in '77, he began his long and illustrious legal career at Butler and Binion. A few years after making partner, he and fellow patent attorneys branched out to form the still vibrant firm of Conley, Rose, and Tayon. In 1993 he joined Halliburton to head the patent department. Over the course of his twenty years with the company, his intelligence, skill, and work ethic made a profound and lasting impact on the intellectual law practice group. There is no doubt his positive influence will remain there for years to come. He was a member of the State Bar of Texas, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was voted a Super Lawyer by "Texas Monthly" in 2005 and 2006, and maintained a preeminent Martindale-Hubbell rating.
Bill and Dawn raised three children together; they spent the early years in Westbury, and moved to Cypress in '89. He supported his family unconditionally, being there for every baseball game, soccer tournament, and brigade performance. Whether it was a Nintendo or money for grad school, Bill could never say no to his kids. A huge fan of music (especially 60's rock), he played guitar, went to Woodstock, and owned every Bob Dylan record. Later in life he took up bass and played in two groups. An avid member of Lakewood UMC, he loved playing in their praise band, "Joyful Noise." He also started a rock outfit with some lawyer buds aptly called "Blind Justice." In addition to rock, he developed a taste for blues and jazz, thanks in part to stations discovered on Satellite radio.
He loved travelling and learning, and cherished family trips to places like Europe, Yellowstone, and Cooperstown. As a sports devotee, he was a lifelong fan of the New York Giants, Yankees, Astros, Rockets, and Cornell Big Red. He witnessed more championships in his lifetime than any fan could hope for. He was at The Summit for the Rockets' game 4 victory over the Magic in the '95 finals, and even remembered to bring his broom.
Whether it was president of the River Oaks Rotary Club ('96-'97), coach of his kids' sports teams, chairman of a church committee, president of the PSA for the Houston School for Deaf Children ('87), or board member for his homeowners' association, Bill answered the call wherever he was needed. He was incredibly bright, kind, generous, funny, selfless, loving, and supportive. He left magnanimous impacts on his family, friends, colleagues, and the city of Houston.
Bill crossed over to eternal life on January 2nd, 2013. He is survived by Dawn, his wife and best friend of 39 years; his three children, Greg, Jeff, Erin Lyons and grandson Brody Lyons; his brother Warren and wife Janet of Fairfield, NY ; sister-in-law Priscilla Weaver and husband Mike of Albuquerque, NM, sister-in-law Aletha Nevling of St. Rose, LA, and many loving relatives. A service to celebrate Bill's life will be held at 3:00 PM on January 14th, 2013 at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 11330 Louetta Rd., Houston, TX 77070. Memorial contributions may be directed to Lakewood UMC's Music Ministry, or a cancer research foundation of your choosing.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 8, 2013