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Sue Rowan JUSTICE


1922 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Sue Rowan JUSTICE Obituary
JUSTICE, Sue Rowan
Sue Tom Ellen Rowan Justice was born April 17, 1922 near the community of Ben Wheeler, Texas, and died November 13, 2015 in Austin at age 93, after a brief illness. Her family had lived in East Texas since the mid 19th century. Sue was the third of five children of Sammy Nuel Rowan and Effie Stella Hobbs. She married William Wayne Justice on March 16, 1947. Their only child, Ellen, was born in 1949.

Wayne died in 2009, and Sue's three sisters, Nell Slade, Jean Saunders, and Joan Dixon also preceded her in death. She is survived by her brother, J. Mike Rowan of Tyler, by her daughter Ellen Rowan Justice and her husband Eric Leibrock of Austin, by her granddaughter, Jane Justice Leibrock of San Francisco, and by numerous nieces and nephews.

Sue completed high school in Van, Texas, and graduated from Texas Woman's University (Denton) in 1944 with a degree in costume and textile design. She worked briefly as a materials quality control inspector for the U. S. Navy Department.

After their marriage, Sue and Wayne lived in Athens, Texas, where Wayne continued his legal career in partnership with his father, and where the couple led an active social life. Sue followed the daily activities of all her sisters with what Wayne described as a "breathless" intensity. With them she maintained her lifelong interest in design and collecting by scouring the obscure sources of antiques throughout East Texas. She eventually specialized in collecting Chinese antiques and artworks. Sue was skilled at duplicate bridge and attained the rank of Life Master.

Sue was a progressive Democrat and worked with Wayne on political campaigns for Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Senator Ralph Yarborough, a lifelong friend. She was elected a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee in 1962.

Sue was an indispensible partner in Wayne's career as he was appointed U. S. Attorney and later, U. S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas. His career eventually forced them to move from Sue's beloved Athens to nearby Tyler. Sue found her liberal views often at odds with others in conservative Tyler but would never decline to debate at length with any of the irate strangers who frequently called the Justices' home-as long as they were willing to identify themselves. As each of Wayne's law clerks relocated for work in what could seem to them a remote and strange East Texas environment, she would make herself their immediate ally. Wayne and Sue treated all 82 of the former clerks as members of an extended family, reuniting with them frequently and following with great interest their subsequent careers in law and social justice.

Sue and Wayne moved to Austin in 1998. After Wayne's death, Sue moved to Austin's Westminster Manor, where she met many new and old friends, renewing her skill at bridge and joining the Westminster Democrats. Sue stayed active and alert until the week of her death, maintaining a consuming interest in politics and almost never failing correctly to predict the outcome of elections.

A private graveside service will be held in Athens on a date in the spring, to be determined. Memorial contributions may be made to the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at The University of Texas School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Nov. 22 to Nov. 23, 2015
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