George H. "Hume" Cofer, (Assoc. of Class of 1943)
(07/19/1923 – 11/13/2016)
Hume Cofer died on November 13, 2016. He was 93, born July 19, 1923. He died of Parkinson's disease, which he courageously bore and accepted for 17 years. He was physically comfortable and content with what life had brought him and was always cheerful and kind to those around him. He was grateful for all help and assistance anyone provided. His full name was George Hume Cofer, but he did not use the name George because his mother’s given name was George. Her maiden name was George Hume. His father was John D. Cofer. At the beginning of the twentieth century the Hume family owned and lived on the block between 26th and 27th Streets, and Guadalupe and Nueces. His Cofer grandparents’ home was on land that is now part of the University campus. In 1933 when Cofer’s parents built their home on 33rd Street in Aldridge Place, his parents felt that location was too distant from Austin. He attended Baker Elementary School, University Junior High, and Austin High School when it was located at 12th Street and Rio Grande.
It is believed that Hume was one of the original 110 Plank Owners of the NROTC Unit at UT. Cofer graduated from UT in October of 1943, and then attended Midshipman school at Northwestern University and was commissioned an Ensign in 1944. He then was sent to the Pacific, crossed the International Date Line on his 21st birthday, which meant that date was omitted from the ship’s log. He claimed that he never turned 21 and was forever young. He served as a Navy officer in charge of a landing craft that participated in moving three army divisions from the beaches on Bougainville Island to army transport ships that carried troops north to support MacArthur’s return to the Philippines. He did not know why he was on the Solomon Islands until after WW II when he read MacArthur’s biography by Manchester, “American Caesar.” When the American Navy, Army and Marine forces moved north they bypassed over a quarter of a million Japanese soldiers who were isolated without weapons and supplies on islands south of the equator. Someone had to stay behind and keep them there. The air forces were doing that, and the landing craft were hauling supplies and fuel to the air crews who were keeping the enemy from moving to a battle zone. While the LCTs were moving out the troops going to the Philippines, and moving in Australian forces to relieve them, Cofer became exhausted and nauseated. He went to see the only American doctor left on Bougainville, who was a psychiatrist. The doctor commented that Cofer looked yellow, and he looked in a very large book under that word, found his diagnosis, yellow jaundice. He sent Cofer to the Second First Australian General Hospital, a collection of large tents on the island. It was well staffed with good doctors, and with military nurses, who were addressed as “Sister.”
After World War II he returned to Austin and attended UT law school, graduated with an LLB degree, and practiced law in Austin from 1949 to 1977. He represented clients in both civil and criminal cases in the State and Federal Courts, both trial and appellate, and he successfully argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. During this time he was President of the Travis County Bar Association (1969-70), and of the Travis County Legal Aid Society (1970-71). He served on the Texas Bar Committees to revise the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (1959-65) and to revise the Texas Penal Code (1969-73); Court of Criminal Appeals Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure in Criminal Cases(1959-75); State Bar Judicial Section's Committee on Judicial Ethics (1979-92, Chair (1989-92); Faculty, Texas College for New Judges (1987-90); Faculty, five Regional Judicial Conferences (in 1992); lectured at 1990 Administrative Law Seminar for Texas administrative agency hearing officers, Judicial Review of Agency Decisions, and at the 1991 State Bar Advanced Administrative Law Course on Statutory Power of District to Review Agency Actions; Speaker at University of Texas Law School Criminal Law Institutes; member of Texas Council of the Administration of Justice (1965-69); author, “Judicial Review of Agency Law Decisions on Scope of Agency Authority (42 Baylor Law Review 255 (1990);” Co-author of “Practice Suggestions for the Plaintiff's Attorney in a Personal Injury Case” in Texas Lawyers’ Practice Guide published by State Junior Bar Association. From 1977 through 1988 he was Judge of the 98th District Court in Austin, and then for 12 years was a Senior District Judge, when he was assigned to various District Courts in twelve counties, from Amarillo to Edinburg. For several years he was a member, and for some years Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Judicial Section, State Bar of Texas.
He and his family enjoyed water skiing and spent many weekends at Lake Austin and Lake Travis. He also snow-skiied for more than 30 years and played tennis in the summer. His last two summers in high school he drove a car for a local travel agency taking school teachers to Mexico, which later led to many visits to Mexico with his family and to Port Aransas to spend time on the beach. He was a member of Westwood Country Club, Sigma Nu, American Bar Association, Texas State Bar Association, and the Travis County Bar Association. Hume and his wife loved traveling. They had many wonderful trips to Mexico and to various countries. His last overseas trip was to Austria where Carol played in two tennis tournaments. This was in 2006, eighteen months after he had survived a heart attack, double pneumonia, and a quintuple bypass, all the while dealing with Parkinsons! In 2007 he and Carol moved to Querencia at Barton Creek and enjoyed a full and active life with new and longtime friends.
Cofer is survived by his wife Carol Nan (McGlothlin/Williamson) Cofer; his sons, George H. Cofer, Jr. and his wife Mary Elizabeth of Austin, and William (Bill) F. Cofer and his wife Patsy of Sabinal, stepson, Charles Williamson and his wife Anita of Farmers Branch. He also has surviving granddaughters, a great granddaughter, great grandsons, nephews, and one remaining cousin.
Memorial services were held at University United Methodist Church on November 18th. He was interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, where his parents, grandparents, and three of his great grandparents are buried.
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Last Updated: January 25, 2017