Joe Hunter Reynolds, age 88, loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend, died on Saturday, the 19th of December 2009, of natural causes. Joe is survived by his loving wife Sue Stamper Reynolds,whom he married on the 17th of July 1948, and they spent more than 61 wonderful years together.
Joe was born on the 21st of November 1921, in Commerce, Texas, one of six children born to John Gordon Reynolds and Espie Duke Reynolds. Joe grew up in Tyler and graduated from Waco High School. He worked his way through Tyler Junior College, Baylor University, and Baylor Law School.
Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Joe enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. In 1945, Lt. Reynolds landed on Iwo Jima, and during fierce fighting Joe was seriously wounded. Joe watched as the American flag was raised atop Mount Suribachi. Most Americans have seen that famous photo. Joe saw it live. Joe received the Purple Heart and numerous other medals
for his military valor.
for his military valor.
In 1950, Joe was called back to serve in the KoreanWar. Captain Reynolds landed at Inchon and later fought at the Battle of the Chosin River, called the “Frozen Chosin.” Joe suffered severe frostbite and other injuries, was hospitalized for many months, and for his service Joe was awarded the Commendation Ribbon with Combat V. The Commandant General of the Marine Corps has called the Battles of Iwo Jima and the Chosin Reservoir two of the bloodiest battles in Marines Corps history. Joe was one of the last survivors of both of those historic battles. Joe was a true hero, although he always denied it.
Joe graduated from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1947. Joe first served in the trial division of the Texas Attorney General’s office, representing the Texas Highway Department in antitrust cases, and he opposed Thurgood Marshall in the landmark case ofSweatt v. Painter. Joe was widely regarded as one of the greatest trial lawyers of the last 60 years, and he was recently named a “Texas Legal Legend” by the State Bar of Texas.
Returning to Houston, Joe practiced law the rest of his life, first with the firm of Bracewell, Reynolds & Patterson (now Bracewell & Guiliani). In 1967 Joe formed Reynolds, White, Allen & Cook and successor firms. During his later years he served in an Of Counsel position with Andrews & Kurth and finally with Schwartz Junell Greenberg & Oathout.
In 1972, Gov. Preston Smith appointed Joe as a Regent at Texas A&M University. Joe served as a Regent for 16 years, having been appointed by three different governors. In Joe’s honor, the medical school at Texas A&M is housed in the Joe H. Reynolds Medical Building. Joe organized the Board of Visitors of Texas Southern University School of Law and served on its board for ten years.
A Biblical scholar, one of Joe’s great loves was teaching his Sunday School class at Second Baptist Church, the “Nothing But the Truth” Class. Joe began every lesson with a quote from Romans 1:17: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God until salvation to all those who believeth, to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile.” Joe’s faithwas limitless and his love for others reflected his deep love of God and Jesus Christ. He expressed his Christian love for others daily by his words and deeds.
Joe is also survived by his sons, Hunt Reynolds and wife Laura of Houston and Dan Reynolds and wife Nancy of Brenham; grandchildren, Jennifer Reynolds McEwan and husband John of Austin, Clay Reynolds and Danielle Reynolds of Brenham, and Lisa and KentWhite of San Antonio. He is survived by great-grandsons, WilliamMcEwan and Charles McEwan of Austin. He was predeceased by his sister, the late Dorace Reynolds and brothers, the late Johnny Reynolds of Dallas, Earl Reynolds of Houston, andWilliam Reynolds of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Joe is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Joe was not only a great patriot, but also a teacher, mentor, and loyal friend to both the powerful and the powerless. His generosity was legendary. He had a heart of service, and his love knew no bounds. Few have impacted as many as Joe. All who knew him knew that they were in the presence of a unique combination of goodness and greatness. Joe would tell each of us at this time the words one Marine says to another just before an amphibious landing: “I’ll see you on the beach.”
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until eight o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 21st of December, in the Library of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The interment service, with military honors, is to be conducted at half-past nine o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 22nd of December, at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery, 12800 Westheimer Road in Houston. A uniformed steward from Geo. H. Lewis & Sons is to be positioned at the cemetery’s entrance so as to guide guests to the interment site.
The memorial service, to celebrate Joe’s life, is to be conducted at eleven o’clock in the morning, also on Tuesday, the 22nd of December, in the Sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 6400Woodway Drive in Houston. Immediately following the service, the family is to receive friends during a reception in the Deacons’ Parlor.
For those desiring, contributions in memory of Joe Reynolds may be directed to Boys and Girls Country of Houston, 18806 Roberts Rd., Hockley, TX, 77447.