Joseph William Geary, Jr.
February 2, 1924 – January 16, 2016
The founder of our law firm, Joseph W. Geary, Jr., passed away on January 16, 2016. Joe was a decorated World War II veteran, a community and civic leader and a highly respected trial attorney. He was a great leader, mentor and friend and will be missed by all of us. Below is a brief biography which lists some of his accomplishments and associations. Following his biography is a poem written by Joe – which represents the way he lived – a man of action who led by example.
Joseph W. Geary, Jr. was born February 2, 1924 in Dallas, Texas. Joe graduated from North Dallas High and attended Southern Methodist University, graduating with a BA in government and economics. At 17, he volunteered for military duty, enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) and was assigned to the 450th Bombardment Group 721st Bomb Squadron as a 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Manduria, Italy. Serving as a B24 navigator, Joe completed 50 missions over France, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Yugoslavia from 1944 until June 1945. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three clusters, Rank – Captain. Joe returned home where he graduated SMU law school and served as Assistant District Attorney with Henry Wade from 1947-1951. In 1948, Joe married Charlotte Walters, and they began a family. Leaving for private practice, Joe founded several law firms, including Geary Porter & Donovan where Joe practiced law until the time of his death. In October 2011, the French government honored Joe as a Knight of the Legion of Honor, its highest military decoration, for his WWII service. Joe was a member of the SMU Ex-Lettermen’s Club (having lettered in baseball as a pitcher and a catcher), TTLA, ATLA, Phi Alpha Delta, a former member of the Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund (now the Community Foundation of Texas), East Dallas Parent’s League and a lifetime member of the SMU Real Estate Society School of Business. He was a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation and Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Joe was a past director of: Continental Steel Corp., Guardian S&L, Trinity National Bank, American Basketball Association, SMU Mustang Club, SMU Alumni Association, Dallas Civic Opera Association, Lakehill Preparatory School, Dallas Council of Churches, Central Business Association, City Club, Pinnacle Club; past president of: Kidney Foundation of Texas, Board of the Kidney Foundation of Texas, Exchange Clubs of Texas, East Dallas Exchange Club, and Preston Trails Golf Club; and served on the boards of the Vintage Country Club (Indian Wells, California) and Bent Tree Country Club. Joe also served on the Dallas City Council from 1959-1961 and ran for mayor in 1961. He was a former trustee of Lovers Lane Methodist Church, a 32nd degree Mason, one of the founders of the American Basketball Association and a part owner of the Dallas Chaparrals Basketball team (now the San Antonio Spurs). Joe was flown to Washington, D.C. twice by the Honor Flight DFW, including December 2015 when he was among twelve WWII vets honored on Pearl Harbor Day by the NFL at the Washington-Dallas game.
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs,
I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done,
I can watch your hand in action but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may understand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and live.
. . . Joseph Geary
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
U.S. Federal Courts
State Bar of Texas, 1947
Southern Methodist University School of Law, Dallas, Texas, 1948 (Juris Doctor)
Awards & Honors
Featured Top LawyerD Magazine 2001
Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Three ClustersU.S. Air Force
Taught Advanced Real Estate SeminarsState Bar Association, 1980, 1981
Elected Lifetime Member, Southern Methodist University Real Estate Society School of BusinessSMU 2001-2016
Professional Associations and Memberships
State Bar of Texas Member
American Bar Association Member
Dallas Bar Association Member
Texas Bar Foundation Fellow, 1987-2016
Association of Trial Lawyers of America Member
Texas Trial Lawyers Association Member
Dallas Bar Foundation Fellow
Past Director/Past Chairman, The Kidney Foundation of Texas, 1979-1980
Dallas City Council Member, 1959-1961
Past Director, American Basketball Association, 1972-1973
Past Director, Southern Methodist University Alumni Association, 1966-1968
Past Director/Past Vice President, Southern Methodist University Mustang Club
Trustee, Lovers Lane Methodist Church
Past Chairman, East Dallas Y.M.C.A.
Past Director, Dallas Civic Opera Association
Past Director, Lakehill Preparatory School
Member, Advisory Council of Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund, 1977-1980
Past Director, Dallas Council of Churches, 1967
Past Director, Central Business Association, 1980
East Dallas Parent’s League
Past State President, Exchange Clubs of Texas, 1956-1957
Past President, East Dallas Exchange Club
Past Legal Counsel, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
Past Director, Continental Steel Corporation, 1961-1984
Past Director, Guardian Savings & Loan Association, 1980–1984
Past Director, Trinity National Bank, 1969
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