CARRSOW, WILLIAM BENTON (1911 ~ 2008) The following is an obituary for former member of the Texas House of Representatives Bill Carssow. The obituary was published in the March 28, 2011 edition of the Austin American Statesman.
William Benton Carssow, Sr., beloved family patriarch, dedicated community leader, and wise counselor to generations of Texans, died March 26, 2008, in Austin,Texas at the age of 96. "Bill" was born December 3, 1911, in San Antonio TX to Rudolph Benton Carssow and Harriet Frances Timberman Carssow. He and his three siblings were raised on the second floor above the family pharmacy, Carssow's Drug Store, located near Fredericksburg Road and Cincinnati Avenue. and known for its beautiful rose garden.
During his youth, he worked in the family drug store, was active in the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio and enjoyed riding horses on raw land near what is now the intersection of Huebner Road and Vance Jackson Road. He volunteered as a camp counselor at the YMCA, forming enduring friendships and beginning his lifelong love for service to his community. He graduated from Main Avenue High in 1928, then traveled to Lebanon, Tennessee, to study law at Cumberland University. He earned his law degree in 1930 at the age of 19. He continued his education throughout his life, later attending St. Mary's University in San Antonio and the University of Texas in Austin.
Bill returned to San Antonio where he began his legal career. On March 2, 1936, the 100th anniversary of Texas Independence, he announced his candidacy for state representative. He served the citizens of San Antonio and Bexar County in the 45th Texas Legislature from 1937 - 1938, sponsoring a bill in 1938 to create the State Bar of Texas. Forgoing a possible second term, Bill agreed to serve as the first Executive Director of the State Bar from 1938-1941. During World War II, Bill served as a pilot and as an officer in the Adjutant General's office for the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 - 1945, attaining the rank of Captain. He was stationed at army air bases in Texas, including Greenville, San Antonio (Randolph), Hondo, and Fort Worth (Carswell). On October 18, 1942, he met Katherine Lynn Patton, who was working as Director of Christian Education at the First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bill and Katherine married June 11, 1943, in Waynesboro, Virginia. They settled temporarily in Fort Worth and were members of Ridglea Presbyterian Church. After the war, Bill and Katherine moved to Austin TX. Bill formed the Alvis & Carssow law firm in 1946 with longtime friend and partner Gene Alvis. He actively practiced law in the Austin area for almost 40 years, serving as bankruptcy trustee for the final decade of his career. During these years, he was active in the Austin Planning and Zoning Commission, Boy Scouts of America, University Area Kiwanis Club, and PTAs at Wooldridge Elementary, University Junior High, and Austin High. After he retired in the early 1980s, Bill and Katherine built a house on their ranch land in Cedar Park, Texas, where they enjoyed family gatherings, and hosted church and community events for decades, including three family weddings. Bill helped found the Northwest Austin Rotary Club and the Cedar Park Rotary Club. He was instrumental in the start of the Cedar Park Library, including the formation of the Cedar Park Library Foundation.
He served the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce, Cedar Park Community Foundation, Cedar Park Heritage Foundation, Leadership Cedar Park, and the Southwest Williamson County Water Control & Improvement District. He was a member of the Texas State Historical Association, volunteering weekly for decades and contributing to the "Handbook of Texas". He was also an active member of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Association. As a sign of accepting God's grace, Bill's life was centered in Christian action and witnessing for Christ. In Austin, this led to his service as an elder at University Presbyterian Church and as a charter member, elder, and Stephen Minister at Hope Presbyterian Church. He also served on the board of the Christian Faith and Life Community at the University of Texas, and participated in and actively helped others in the Walk to Emmaus community.
Bill is survived by Katherine, his wife of 65 years. He is also survived by his children, Tim Carssow and his wife Karen, Jim Carssow, Lynn Adams, and Ben Carssow and his wife Nancy Lehmann-Carssow; his grandchildren, Ryan Carssow and his wife Kristina, Kevin Carssow, US Army Capt. Graham Carssow, Katie Carssow, Amy Adams, Sophie Carssow, and Henry Carssow; his great-granddaughter, Abigail Carssow. He is preceded in death by his parents Rudolph and Harriet Carssow, brothers Harry and John Carssow and sister Marianna Webb. Services will be at 2:00 p.m., Monday, March 31, at Hope Presbyterian Church, 11512 Olson Drive in Austin. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Hope Presbyterian Church's Generation to Generation Fund or to Mission Presbytery for New Church Development, 7201 Broadway, Suite 303, San Antonio, TX, 78209. Arrangements under the direction of Beck Funeral Home, Cedar Park Texas 512-259-1610