Dewey Gonsoulin
1929 - 2020
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Dewey Jude Gonsoulin
Dewey Jude Gonsoulin, 90, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, surrounded by family. He joins his beloved wife of 56 years, Jean J. Gonsoulin, who preceded him on June 17, 2015.
For Dewey, family was paramount from the beginning of his life. He was born on December 27, 1929, in Houston to Robert and Elma Gonsoulin. He spent many happy times in Jeanerette, Louisiana with parents, grandparents, his brothers Robert and Thomas, and an extended array of aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He later shared that Cajun heritage with his own family.
Although his family roots were in Louisiana, he grew up in Houston where he graduated as valedictorian of St. Thomas High School in May 1947. He remained in Houston and attended Rice Institute, now known as Rice University, where he was chosen as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in June of 1951.
Following his graduation from Rice, Dewey entered the University of Texas Law School in September of 1951 and joined the U.S. Army R.O.T.C. He graduated three years later in May of 1954 both with honors and as a Distinguished Military Graduate. During his time at UT Law School, he served on the Texas Law Review and was a member of the law fraternity, Phi Delta Phi.
After graduation, he served in the U.S Army Medical Service Corps stationed in Japan for two years and was honorable discharged as a First Lieutenant.
Dewey returned to Texas and practiced as an attorney at the Beaumont law firm of Mehaffy Weber for over 60 years. As he moved through the ranks of associate, partner, and later "Of Counsel", he built an extraordinary career as a trial lawyer and appellate law specialist. He was certified in labor law in 1975 and later in civil appellate law in 1989. Dewey served as president of the Texas Associate of Defense Counsel, and the Jefferson County Bar Association, where he was also awarded the Blackstone Award. In 1985, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. In addition, he was a faculty member of the Trial Academy for the International Association of Defense Counsel.
While his legal career was a source of great pride for Dewey, he always made his Catholic faith, his family and his service to the community as top priorities in his life. He was instrumental in the founding of St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church and served as eucharistic minister and usher. He was a member of the Rococo dance club, Shady Investors, Profits Unlimited, Taylor's Bayou Hunting Club and served on the Boards of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Monsignor Kelly High School Board and the Local Governing Board for Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. In addition, he was chairman of the Beaumont Civil Service Commission for 25 years.
Dewey is survived by his three children: Jean Gonsoulin of Pasadena, California; Anne Figueiras of Beaumont, Texas; and Dewey Gonsoulin, Jr. and his wife Karen, of Houston, Texas; his eight grandchildren, Caroline Kirby (Aaron); Catherine Pick (Cullen); Mark Figueiras, Michael Figueiras; Elizabeth Figueiras; Dewey Gonsoulin III; Emily Gonsoulin; and Robert Gonsoulin; his brother Thomas (Anne) and his cousin Julie Cowan (Finis); and his great grandchildren, Chase and Harris Kirby.
A private funeral mass and burial service for Dewey will be held for immediate family, and a celebration of his life will be planned for the spring or early summer for family, friends, colleagues and others who wish to share in honoring his life. The family extends their sincere thanks and gratitude to all the caregivers who assisted Dewey during his final years, and particularly to Josephine, Kathy, Ana, Pete, Dori, Emily, Raul and Linda for their long service to the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dewey Jude Gonsoulin, Sr. Endowment for Excellence Scholarship in Law at the University of Texas School of Law,; to St. Jude's Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont, Texas, 77706-3239,; or to the charity of your choice.
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Published in Houston Chronicle on Nov. 15, 2020.
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1 entry
November 16, 2020
Dear Dewey and Karen,
I’m so sorry for your loss. An amazing life well lived, a lovely obituary to the all he accomplished on his journey here on earth and I’m sure more. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May the perpetual light shine upon him. God Bless
Elisabeth and Tim Belton
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