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William S. Lott

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For about 16 years, William S. Lott's meticulous and straightforward style as a judge kept prosecutors on their toes. Lott, who presided over the 26th District Court until 1993, died Wednesday, his daughter Cathy Durr said. He was 90. During a career in law that spanned seven decades, Lott helped reshape Williamson County's juvenile justice system, inspired at least one future judge to study law and demanded that prosecutors arguing before him behave professionally. "He wanted to make sure all of us were better lawyers," said District Judge Ken Anderson. "He was a mentor to every young lawyer who would allow him to be." "The law just kind of took over his life when he got into law school," said former district judge and current U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock. Lott was born one of five children in 1918 near Amarillo where his father owned an automobile dealership, Durr said. Eventually, Lott left home to study law at the University of Texas and earned a law degree in 1940. After college, he served in the U.S. Army in a special intelligence unit during World War II, Durr said. He married Ellagene Eanes, whom he met in college, in 1944, and they had two children: Durr and William Hervey Lott. Later, Lott served as an assistant state attorney general, Durr said. District Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield said that as a teenager he hired Lott to help him retrieve a tape recorder that was ordered but never delivered. When Stubblefield tried to pay, Lott refused. "There was no reason for him to do me any favors," Stubblefield said. "The experience made me realize that the legal profession was, in the highest sense, a helping profession." Durr said her father always saved time for his family. "He really cared about his family," she said.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 12 to Feb. 25, 2009
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