Memorial held for law dean Newell Blakely

Heather Detrixhe

Managing Editor

University of Houston Law Center Dean Newell H. Blakely was honored Thursday at a memorial service attended by more than 100 friends, family, colleagues, UH faculty, students and staff.

Blakely passed away over winter break due to complications following a stroke. He was 78.

Blakely dedicated much of his life to the study of law, practicing privately for two years and teaching 41 years.

"He is considered the 'Father of Texas Evidence,'" said Leah Gross, director of public relations for the UH Law Center. He had a heavy hand in the drafting of the current relevant rules for admissible evidence in Texas, she explained.

Speaking in remembrance of Blakely were current UH Law Center Dean Stephen Zamora and former Dean Robert Knauss. UH Law Center professor David Crump and former students and friends Sybil Balasco, Cathy Herasimchuk and Matias Adrogue also spoke.

Though held for a somber occasion, the event was jovial as speakers offered cheerful anecdotes of Blakely's life and work.

When his students complained he was being unfair at times, Blakely answered, "Maybe so, but young lawyers should learn that everything they do in the future will not be fair," Knauss said.

"There was nothing more God-fearing than being called on by him. You had to stand up and it was just you and him," said Gross, a former student. "He taught me to be prepared and think logically."

"Blakely held the idea that justice works better if people know the rules, where they came from and how they work," Zamora said.

He is remembered as a very dedicated teacher. "He remembered each and every one of his students' names, what row they sat in and what class they attended. He took a strong interest in the exploits and accomplishments of each one of us," Herasimchuk said.

"Newell Blakely was a rare combination, he was a first rate school teacher, and he really liked practicing law," Knauss said.

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