“He was a towering figure in Texas and a true champion of justice for the state and the country,” said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht.
Garner, an attorney and law professor, said Reavley typified the very best qualities of “our federal judiciary: complete integrity, a commitment to fairness, incisive intellect and human kindness.”
A lay Methodist minister and Sunday school teacher, Reavley’s nickname was “Pope of the Fifth Circuit.”
Reavley is survived by his wife, Carolyn Dineen King, who is also a judge on the 5th Circuit, and four children.
He had been married to his first wife, Florence Wilson Reavley, for 60 years. She died in 2003. He married King in 2004 and the couple had said that before Florence Reavley died, she told them to get remarried.
Reavley grew up in Nacogdoches, graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1942 and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was a lieutenant who drove President Franklin Roosevelt to Roosevelt’s meeting with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at Yalta, where the post-World War II fate of Germany was discussed.
He earned his law degree from Harvard in 1948 and served as a prosecutor, local judge and state government official before serving on the Texas Supreme Court and 5th Circuit.