2014 Archives

Visionary lawyer and SMU alumnus Ray Hutchison dies

Husband of former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison
Kay Bailey and Ray Hutchison
(Photo by Ron Heflin)

March 31, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU Dedman School of Law alumnus Ray Hutchison ‘59, a highly respected municipal bond lawyer credited by The Texas Lawbook with having “the biggest impact on the North Texas economy for the last half-century,” died Sunday evening at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Hutchison, 81, was the husband of former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday, April 3, at the Church of the Incarnation followed by a reception at the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus. Burial will be 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Texas State Cemetery. The family has requested that donations be made to SMU Dedman School of Law in lieu of flowers.

“The legal community and the SMU family have lost a great leader and friend with the passing of Mr. Hutchison. With his wife, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ray was devoted to advancing educational opportunities,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “They not only have served as strong advocates for educational progress, but they also personally funded law scholarships and the Hutchison Legal Resource Learning Center in the Underwood Law Library of Dedman School of Law. We are grateful for the impact of Mr. Hutchison on generations of SMU law students and the legal profession.”

The visionary economic development leader played crucial roles in complex public funding negotiations that ultimately led to the creation of DFW Airport, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, and a number of North Texas professional sports facilities, including Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T Stadium), American Airlines Center, Texas Motor Speedway and SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Additionally, he is credited with bringing the Texas Rangers baseball team to Arlington in the early 1970s from Washington, D.C., where they had been the Washington Senators.

More recently he helped Parkland Memorial Hospital navigate a $700 million bond issuance and represented the expansion efforts of the Dallas, Highland Park, Irving and Richardson school districts.

Hutchison “has been involved in virtually every major government development project of the past five decades,” said friend Ben Brooks, a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani. The  Dallas firm where both Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison served as senior counselors is noted for its government bonding expertise. “Ray has easily been involved in more than $20 billion in bond issuances that have directly and positively impacted the North Texas economy,” Brooks told The Texas Lawbook.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry praised Hutchison in a statement released Monday. “From his commitment to developing the North Dallas community, to his service in the U.S. Navy and Texas Legislature, to his instrumental role in the creation of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Ray was a leader in every aspect of his life, and his contributions to the state of Texas will positively impact countless Texans for generations to come,” Perry said.

“Ray Hutchison and Sen. Hutchison have been great supporters of SMU Dedman School of Law, and Ray was a long-time member of Dedman Law’s Executive Board," said Julie P. Forrester, Dean ad interim of SMU Dedman School of Law. "The law school community will miss him tremendously.”

Ray Hutchison graduated from high school in 1950 from Crozier Tech in Dallas. After a brief stint as a messenger for Magnolia Oil Co. he was drafted in 1951 by the U.S. Navy.

After service, Hutchison attended SMU, where he earned a degree in business, and received a juris doctor in 1959 from what is now SMU Dedman School of Law, graduating fourth in his class.

Hutchison began his legal career as a litigator at the law firm ultimately known as Jenkins & Gilchrist. His big break would come in the early 1960s while helping represent the Murchison brothers in their bid to buy New York investment firm Alleghany Corp. — recognized at that time as the largest hostile takeover battle in the U.S.

His next position was with the highly respected municipal finance firm of McCall, Parkhust & Horton, where Dallas Mayor J. Erik Jonsson and others tapped him to help negotiate the construction of an international airport. The highly contentious political battle that ensued would be one of many Hutchison handled with now-legendary skillful diplomacy.

While serving two terms in the Texas Legislature in the mid-1970s, Hutchison met Kay Bailey, whom he married in 1978. Kay Bailey Hutchison would go on to be elected in 1993 as the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. She was re-elected three times by large margins and chose not to run for office again in 2012. During her years in the Senate, Hutchison expanded higher education opportunities for thousands of Texans. She helped bring to SMU more than $20 million in federal funds for research programs, including the Infinity Project, the nation's first math- and science-based high school engineering program.

As a couple, the Hutchisons would establish the Ray and Kay Bailey Hutchison Scholarship and the Hutchison Legal Resource Learning Center.

Ray Hutchison has been named “Best Lawyer” by D Magazine every year since 2003. He received the Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 2003 and the Charles O. Galvin Award for Service to the SMU Dedman School of Law in 2000.

Hutchison is survived by his wife and their two children, Kathryn and Houston; and his two daughters Brenda and Julie.