Blake Tartt went to be with the Lord on Sunday, the 27th of July 2014. He was 85. He lived an exceptional life. Our great loss is Heaven's great gain! Blake was born in Houston, Texas on the 16th of March 1929, to Herbert Blake Tartt and Bernice Tartt Collerain. He grew up in Houston and went on to Southern Methodist University, graduating with a B.B.A. degree in 1949. While at SMU he joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, was a varsity cheerleader and later served as ATO Province Chair for Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law graduating with a L.L.B. degree, cum laude, in 1959 and was awarded the...
Blake Tartt went to be with the Lord on Sunday, the 27th of July 2014. He was 85. He lived an exceptional life. Our great loss is Heaven's great gain!
Blake was born in Houston, Texas on the 16th of March 1929, to Herbert Blake Tartt and Bernice Tartt Collerain. He grew up in Houston and went on to Southern Methodist University, graduating with a B.B.A. degree in 1949. While at SMU he joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, was a varsity cheerleader and later served as ATO Province Chair for Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law graduating with a L.L.B. degree, cum laude, in 1959 and was awarded the outstanding Senior Law Student Award in 1959.
His education was interrupted by the Korean War, in which he saw combat as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, flying with the 98th Bombardment Wing. He was awarded the Air Medal, Korean Service Medal (with two battle stars), the United Nations medal, and United States and Korean Presidential citations.
In 1960, he married the love of his life, Barbara Jean Moore. Blake and Barbara Tartt were an incomparable team, who were married 54 years and blessed with two loving children and three wonderful grandsons. Blake is survived by his wife Barbara, son Blake Tartt, III, daughter Courtnay Tartt Elias, her husband Mark Elias, and their three boys Baker, Brooks and Sterling Elias, his nephew Patrick Blake Frede and wife Rebecca, and nieces Sally Frede Kemper and Ellie Bullard Essalih, and grandnephews Parker and Preston Frede and grandnieces Grace and Libby Essalih. Blake was predeceased by his parents and his sister Beverly Tartt Bullard.
After law school, Blake joined the firm of Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman, Bates & Jaworski, where he became a senior partner and practiced for more than 40 years until his retirement from the firm. In January 2000, his close friends at the Beirne, Maynard & Parsons firm, asked him to become their partner. It was a great match, and Blake practiced there until his death.
He had an extraordinary legal career. A consummate trial and appellate lawyer, he was recognized and elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the International Association of Defense Counsel. His international practice took Blake and Barbara on many memorable travels throughout the United States and abroad, where they formed strong and lasting relations with many friends here and abroad.
He was a long serving leader in the Houston Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association. He was President of the Texas State Bar in 1983-84. He also served as a Director and member of its Executive Committee. He was vice chair of the State Bar Litigation Section and a trustee and first chair of the State Bar Insurance Trust. He was chair of the State Bar Liaison Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence, chair of the Houston Bar Foundation, chair of the Texas Bar Foundation, chair of the Texas Bar Foundation Fellows and a director of the Texas Lawyer's Insurance Exchange. He is a Life Fellow and Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, served in the ABA's House of Delegates, and on the council of the International Laws Section and the James C. Watson Inn of Former Officers and Directors. He was chair of the State Bar Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Long Range Planning Committee. He was appointed by the State Bar to the board of directors of the Magna Carta in America Foundation and by the ABA to the Board of the Law Library of Congress. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by Southern Methodist University and the 50 Year Outstanding Lawyer Award by the Texas State Bar.
He was a President of the River Oaks Property Owners' Association and a past member of the Board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He was a member of the Coronado Club and The Forest Club, Houston, Texas, the Argyle Club in San Antonio, Texas, and the Reform Club, London, England.
Blake was a treasured mentor to many young lawyers who have themselves become successful lawyers, judges, leaders of the bar, and civic leaders. Their assistance with this tribute to their dear friend and mentor is much appreciated.
In sum, Blake was a true Southern gentleman, widely known for his love of family, his wit and wisdom, a remarkable smile, incredible memory, great intelligence, deep rooted integrity, true friendship, thoughtfulness and kindness - - a man for all seasons.
The family wishes to thank Blake's doctors and caregivers at Methodist and St. Luke's hospitals, with special thanks to Doctors Nadem Nasir, David Ott and James T. Willerson, and to loving caregivers LaVance Kirkland, Ena Moran, Apiphany McAfee and Shawna Ray.
A memorial service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 31st of July, at the Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard in Houston, where the Rev. Laurens A. Hall, D.D., is to officiate. Serving as honorary pallbearers are Blake's past and present partners in the law firms of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons and Fulbright & Jaworski. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Sumners Hall.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that remembrances be directed to the St. Luke's Texas Heart Institute, Development Office, MC 3-117, PO Box 20345, Houston, TX, 77225-0345; the SMU Dedman School of Law, P.O. Box 750281, Dallas TX, 75275; and the Texas Bar Foundation, 515 Congress Ave., Ste. 1755, Austin, TX, 78701.