BUTTS, SHIRLEY W. (1925 ~ 2016). The following is an obituary for Justice Shirley W. Butts, former Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeals. The obituary was provided by Porter Loring Mortuary of San Antonio.
The Honorable Shirley W. Butts, retired Justice of the Fourth Court of Appeals, passed away on August 10, 2016 at the age of 91. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Justice Butts ventured far from home for college, receiving her undergraduate degree with honors from California State University, Los Angeles.
She received her JD from the University of Texas in 1954, and her advanced law degree (LLM) from the University of Virginia in 1986. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 48 years, attorney Charles Dana Butts. An inspiration to many, Justice Butts was a model of competence and professionalism in the legal arena at a time when few women were lawyers. She began her career in the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office, where she ultimately became the Chief of the Civil Division. She then maintained a private law practice for 18 years, first in Fort Worth and later in San Antonio.
She developed a reputation for excellence, particularly in the area of criminal law. From 1976 to 1981 she taught at St. Mary's University School of Law. In 1981 she was appointed to the Fourth Court of Appeals, becoming the first female appellate justice in the State of Texas. Her influence at the Fourth Court was great: she helped to draft the Court's Local Rules, often worked to achieve consensus among the seven justices on the Court, and mentored many young briefing attorneys who were fortunate enough to obtain a one-year clerkship with the Court. She was re-elected to the bench twice and retired in 1994 after a distinguished career. During her many years of public service she received numerous accolades from both local and state-wide legal organizations.
Justice Butts is survived by her two daughters, Sabra Vujich and Shanna Maclin.
A memorial service will be held at Porter Loring Mortuary at 1101 McCullough, San Antonio, Texas at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
Private burial will be at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the San Antonio Bar Foundation would be appreciated.