James “Jim” William Mehaffy, Jr.
Jim Mehaffy, Jr, beloved son, husband, father, brother, mentor, and friend; consummate gentleman; defender of the underdog; world traveler; yellow dog Democrat; necktie enthusiast; amateur musician; pilot of planes, trains, and automobiles; jumper of tugboat wakes; and slinger of persiflage, died February 2, 2022.
As the oldest of six children of Jim and Mary Alice Mehaffy, Jim often said that he valiantly “shouldered the family burden of a legal career, alcoholism, neurological disease, and being a lifelong resident of Southeast Texas,” for which he felt his siblings should be deeply grateful. Near the end of his life, Jim said, “I want everyone to know that I’m not just accepting death, but embracing it,” recalling a long life filled with love, deep connections, adventure, and late-in-life peace and self-acceptance.
After a distinguished career as a plaintiff’s attorney in Jefferson County, in 1994 he ran for Judge of the 58th District Court in Beaumont, was elected and served there until his retirement in 2006. His career accomplishments include conceiving and implementing the first electronic filing system in Texas, serving as President of the Jefferson County Bar Association, receiving the coveted Blackstone Award, given to one lawyer each year in recognition of the highest ethical and professional standards, being awarded the Ken Lewis Texas Bar Foundation Award for Professionalism, receiving the statewide Texas Bar Journal’s “Best Article” award, and founding and serving as first president of the local Inn of Court, which members named after his late wife Michelle F. Mehaffy.
Jim’s battle against Parkinson’s Disease, which he waged mostly by ignoring it, was a true inspiration. With a force of will that surprised no one, he continued to travel, volunteer, and remain an active force in the community, attending the lunchtime meetings of AA that sustained him in his sobriety.
Jim is survived by his wife, Maris Mehaffy, of Beaumont; by his children Elizabeth Winslow and her husband Thomas Winslow of New York; Thomas Mehaffy and his partner Xiangyun Li of Austin; Patrick Mehaffy of Austin; and Haylee Faggard of Beaumont; by siblings George Mehaffy of Oklahoma; Ann Mehaffy of Oregon; Molly Mehaffy of New Mexico; Patrick Mehaffy of New Mexico; and Michael Mehaffy of Oregon. He is also survived by his grandchildren Tess and Liam McMillan of New York. He is predeceased by wife, Michelle “Mickey” Mehaffy; his parents James Mehaffy, Sr. and Mary Alice Mehaffy; and his cousin Mitchell Adams. Jim’s family is deeply grateful for the loving care and friendship of Marlyn Garcia, who became our chosen family over the last year of Jim’s life.
The family hopes that friends and loved ones will honor Jim’s memory by carrying on his sense of fun, spirit of community, and commitment to service to others. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to CASA Southeast Texas, Inc. (2449 Calder Ave, Beaumont, TX 77702), the Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program, Inc. at the Garth House (1895 Mcfaddin Ave, Beaumont, TX 77701), or the H.O.W. Center (2509 Cable Ave, Beaumont, TX 77703).
Judge Mehaffy’s memorial service will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 680 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont, with a reception to follow in Payne Hall. At a later time, the family will gather to bury his cremated body at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
- 680, Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas, 77701,
- June 8, 2022
- 11:00 am