Arthur Leon "Dick" Dent III
1947 - 2020
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Arthur Leon "Dick" Dent III
"Deacon Dent" to some and good friend to all. Dick passed away peacefully the morning of June 23, 2020. He was a lover of life, his family and friends, his orchids, music, and a little mischief. SMU athletics captured his passion in college and was a constant even after his days of playing music with his high school and college band and after his law career tapered off. Dick had a heart as big as Texas, was fierce in defense of friends and family, and presented the strongest handshake many will ever experience.
Dick was born February 21, 1947, in Fort Worth, Texas. After a few years, his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and then New Orleans, Louisiana, where Dick found his spirit city. After making lifelong friends, he graduated from high school in 1965 and attended Southern Methodist University, where he earned a BA in Personnel Management and, in 1973, a Juris Doctorate. He was a very proud member of Beta Theta Phi and continued to enjoy his friendship with his brothers throughout his life. His law school career was interrupted for a year while he served his country in the National Guard; he continued to attend weekend drills and summer camps for years to come.
In 1973, Dick proudly joined the venerable Houston law firm founded in 1919 by R.C. Fulbright and, later, famed war crimes investigator and Watergate Special Counsel, Leon Jaworski. Specializing in Labor and Employment law, Dick rose through the ranks rapidly, was elected partner in 1981, and practiced with powerhouse Fulbright and Jaworski until 2008. From 2008 to 2019, when he retired to Delray Beach, Florida, Dick maintained a solo law practice, choosing to handle cases with some of his closest friends, and cherished this time practicing on both sides of the bar. Dick attacked the law like everything else he did in life - with intense focus and dedication to excellence. He was consistently recognized for his work in "Chambers U.S.A., The Best Lawyers in America," and "Texas Super Lawyers."
In 1983, on a blind date arranged by good friends, John and Sue Bennett, Dick met his "darlin" Phyllis, whom he married March 14, 1986. While they did not have children together, Phyllis's son, Jim Bavouset, was instantly embraced and treated as Dick's own son. Dick was a blessing to Phyllis and Jim from the very start, providing love and support every moment of his life. In addition to Phyllis and Jim, he is survived by his granddaughter, Grace Elizabeth Bavouset, whom he loved deeply (moving to Florida in 2019 was, in large part, an effort to be closer to her); Jim's wife, Adrienne, and children, Hunter and Merritt Dupuis; and he is also survived by his sister, Sally Steele, and her husband, Dick Steele, of Lewisville, Texas, as well as his niece, Cathi Lane. He was preceded in death by his father, Arthur Leon Dent Jr., his mother, Betty Ellis Dent, his brother, Michael E. Dent, and his nephew, Jaime Lane.

Dick lived life with a passion few others can match. He loved to hunt, fish, snow ski, and grow his beloved orchids. He had a pure heart, firm grip, could mix a killer cocktail or effortlessly grill a delicious steak, and he loved his family and friends deeply. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice, and Dick would have wanted you to buy a bottle of your favorite libation, sink your toes in the sand (or grass if you don't have sand), and toast him with someone you love. Take a selfie and send it to his email- He loved hearing from his friends, near and far, and he would love to know you are thinking about him. Plus, we are certain he'll be checking email and surfing the SMU athletic message boards for eternity! Due to COVID restrictions, a celebration of Dick's life will be held at a later date.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Jun. 30, 2020.
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June 30, 2020
Dick was a great guy and I am so saddened to hear this news. My prayers to Phyllis and family.
Jane Lavery
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