Earl Wesley Smith

Portrait of Earl Wesley Smith Headstone Photograph

Earl Wesley Smith

County Attorney
Tom Green County, 1951

District Attorney
51st Judicial District, 1951 - 52

District Judge
51st Judicial District, 1971 - 82

Third Court of Appeals, 1982 - 86

Back of headstone


Ear Wesley
November 6, 1919
March 20, 2001

Hattie Mozelle Owens
December 9, 1919

He Has Showed You, O Man,
What Is Good And What
Does The Lord Require
Of You, But To Do Justice,
And To Love Mercy, And To
Walk Humbly With Your God?
Micah 6:8
Full Name: Earl Wesley Smith
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 2 (C2)
Row:E  Number:20
Reason for Eligibility: District Judge, 51st Judicial District of Texas; Associate Justice, Court of Appeals, Third Supreme Judicial District 
Birth Date: November 6, 1919 
Died: March 20, 2001 
Burial Date: March 23, 2001 

SMITH, EARL WESLEY (1919 ~ 2001). The following is an obituary for Justice Earl Wesley Smith which ran in the Austin American-Statesman on March 21, 2001.

"Earl W. Smith was the sixth of seven children born to James William Smith Sr. and Sallie Elizabeth (Baskin) Smith. He was born November 6, 1919, in Halls County, Texas, and grew up in Plainview, Texas. He was active in sports in high school and enjoyed an avid love of sports all his life.

After graduation from Plainview High School in 1938, Smith attended Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, Texas, graduated from Schreiner in 1940, and then attended the University of Texas in Austin. He married Hattie Mozelle Owens on August 31, 1941, and they moved to Austin Texas, where Earl entered the University of Texas School of Law.

He interrupted his education at the University of Texas in May 1942 to enlist in the United States Air Force and served as a radio operator in World War II. After the war, Earl and Mozelle returned to Austin where Earl graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in June 1947. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and served as a quizmaster at the University of Texas School of Law.

Earl and Mozelle then returned to San Angelo, Texas, where he began a general private practice of law in 1947 and subsequently served as City Attorney of San Angelo, County Attorney of Tom Green County, District Attorney for the 51st Judicial District, and later as a special prosecutor. Smith then returned to the private practice of law for 20 years, primarily as an active trial lawyer, in the firm of Hardeman, Smith and Foy in San Angelo. He also served as defense counsel in private practice.

Smith was elected to the office of District Judge for the 51st Judicial District in San Angelo in 1971 and served in that position for three terms. He later was elected to the Third Court of Appeals of the State of Texas in Austin, Texas, in 1982. Smith retired from the Third Court of Appeals in 1986.

During his career, Smith was also appointed to the Juvenile Delinquency Committee of the Family Law Association and served on the committee to revise the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Penal Code. He also served as a lecturer on Criminal Law at the Judicial College at Sam Houston State University and was a member of the Tom Green County Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas. Smith served as Tom Green County Democratic chairman several terms, and as State Democratic Committeeman from West Texas for two terms.

Smith also served on the San Angelo Independent School District School Board for two terms during a time when the school district built San Angelo Central High School and a new sports stadium. In his tenure on the school board, he was influential in the 1950's in the desegregation of the public schools in San Angelo.

Earl was active in service to his church, where he served as a deacon in the Johnson Street Church of Christ in San Angelo for several years and as an elder for 20 years. He was president of the West Texas Christian Foundation, an organization founded to build a retirement center for senior citizens. He also served as an elder at the University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin, Texas, for several years. Earl was devoted to his family and enjoyed many happy moments with them.

He was a dedicated public servant, who worked hard in all his endeavors in life. He enjoyed many warm and wonderful friendships and relationships with his family and friends in his profession and in life."

Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.

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