BlogsDean T. Gerald Treece, Rest in Peace

July 24, 2020
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In Memory of Dean T. Gerald Treece

All of us at Collier Legal Search have been working with a heavy heart these last many days following the deaths of so many friends, most especially the passing of both Steve Susman of Susman Godfrey and Dean T. Gerald Treece of South Texas College of Law.  As to the latter, the sad event hit very close to home.

“Coach,” as Dean Treece was commonly called, was a major force in not only the local academic and professional communities but also in the state and national legal arenas.  Under his leadership, South Texas College of Law rose to the highest national rankings in trial and appellate advocacy.  Three of our veteran team members graduated from South Texas, and Kay Egger was proud to be a varsity advocate under Coach during the early 1990s.

A paragon of selflessness, Coach gave of himself every day, all day.  He enjoyed personal conversation immensely, always eager to listen and learn about individuals and their experiences.  Coach cared deeply about the South Texas student body, never wavering in his passion for teaching advocacy and Constitutional Law.  His student relationships did not end at law school graduation as Coach’s office door remained open for all alumnae.

As important as teaching, Coach had an airtight memory chock full of delightfully entertaining stories.  His wit was fast; no one could turn a phrase like Coach.  His anecdotes ranged in widespread topics from being a law student himself to Astros baseball, family and faith life, advocacy and much more.  Coach remembered every face, name and ‘fun’ fact— he always joyfully spoke, and some would say “preached,” with great animation, laughter and goodwill for others.  He went out of his way to build others up never choosing to elevate himself.

It is not enough to say Dean Treece was immensely admired.  Perhaps what should be said is best stated simply:  Coach was a towering, beautiful example of the Golden Rule.  He worked tirelessly to keep himself in a leadership position so as to support and guide others.  Love of his faith, family, country and the law anchored Coach to be strong, sharp and persevering while always remaining humble and approachable.

Many know Coach’s favorite novel was To Kill a Mockingbird.  Indeed he was our own “Atticus Finch.”  Perhaps it is therefore ideal to borrow a page from Harper Lee.  Through her beautiful writing, Ms. Lee perfectly demonstrated the meaning of ‘respect’ when the Robinson courtroom gallery stood in a pure act of reverence for a great advocate, a great man. So to all of you “Jean-Louise’s” out there, it’s our turn for Coach:  “STAND UP… [DEAN T. GERALD TREECE] IS PASSING.”

Coach, you have exited the courtroom yet your legacy will forever endure.  We will miss you.  Thank you for everything.

Kay Kurtin Egger

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