From the back seat, I heard in that unmistakable Texas drawl, “Did I ever tell you how we lost Pete?” And so, we learned how the Wilson family lost and miraculously found their beloved dog, Pete. It was one of the several tales about his family and his exploits that David Wilson entertained us with while we rode from Long Island back to Midtown during the TIPS Section Conference in early May. David was a great storyteller, a trait that helped make him a great trial lawyer. Although David and I had known one another and worked together for many years, we had taken separate paths in TIPS. At the end of that long car ride back to Manhattan, I felt very fortunate that I would be able to get to know David better and hear more of his stories over the coming years as we served together on TIPS’s Council. When our group arrived at the hotel, we hugged goodbye, laughed about Pete, and acknowledged that we would all see each other again soon. It was with great sadness that I learned David passed away suddenly a few weeks later on June 3.
Born and raised in Texas, David attended Texas A&M University on a 4-H scholarship and was a lifelong Aggies fan. In 1993, he graduated from South Texas College of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Lytae and the Order of Barristers and where he taught as an adjunct faculty member for 17 years. During his remarkable career, David practiced at firms large and small, worked for the government as a prosecutor, and worked for himself as a sole practitioner. He tried over 100 cases and was lead counsel in over 60 appeals, including appeals before the Texas Supreme Court. David was involved in more bar organizations and received more accolades and awards than could possibly be recounted here. He was active in the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, the Houston Bar Association, and other organizations. His practice focused on construction and business litigation, and he was a frequent speaker and author on topics relevant to his practice. Of course, we remember him as a stalwart member of TIPS for some 20 years, where he served in many positions, including as chair of the Appellate Advocacy Committee, cochair of the Orientation Training Committee and the ABA Annual Meeting Program, and, most recently, a member of Council.
David left us with more than the résumé of his impressive accomplishments. He left us with the memory of his warm and ready smile, his friendship, and his huge spirit. He served his community, his church, and his family with the same energy that he brought to his remarkable career. He was a leader in the law and in all things he put his mind to. He left a wonderful extended family with whom he loved to spend time; and he treasured his wife Susan, his daughters Katherine and Sarah, and his son Buck. We at TIPS will miss David, his generous and loving soul, and, of course, his wonderful stories.
—Holly M. Polglase
TIPS Section Chair, 2017–2018