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A tribute to Eric Weatherford

Honoring our colleague and friend.

Earlier this month, final respects were paid to our dear friend and colleague Eric Weatherford at his memorial service in Dallas on August 5. The memorial was attended by hundreds and hundreds of people, including HB leadership, attorneys and business professionals, many of our clients and members of the Dallas Bar Association. The turnout was truly indicative of how big of an influence Eric had on Husch Blackwell and beyond.

Eric’s best friend and Austin partner Joe Geraci delivered a eulogy to Eric that beautifully captured what it means to be a partner and a lawyer— and how Eric’s life will forever impact Husch Blackwell.

Good afternoon, everyone, I am Joe Geraci and I am one of Eric’s law partners. Eric and I met in our 20s and immediately hit it off (both being Texas grads helped – because if you knew Eric, you know he loved the University). We worked together at three law firms and I was lucky enough to call Eric a friend for 22 years. It is such an honor to speak here. It seems like my firm’s entire Dallas and Austin offices are here and many of our partners and colleagues from Kansas City, St. Louis, Wisconsin and places even further afield. His clients have come – from Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and elsewhere. And a good contingent of the Dallas Bar is here. I can hear Eric whispering to me, “boy, the billable hours being charged for this gathering must be in the millions – keep your talk short Geraci.” What a tribute to the friend, son, brother, husband, father, and law partner we lost.  

When something tragic happens at first there is only emotion. The words come later. Not all at once, but over the days and weeks. Here are my words and, I think the words of those of us who were blessed to work with Eric, and, for some of us, to be his law partner and dear friend.  

To understand what it meant to be Eric’s law partner, you need to understand what a law partner means. And specifically, what it meant to Eric and many of us who knew him best. So let me try to explain. 

To us, a law partner means the person you talked to every day (including weekends) for years. It means the first person you call when you are scared of failing (which is often) or to celebrate a victory. It is the person you call when you are looking for that special turn of phrase in a letter (Eric always reminded me he was an English major), want to confirm the reading of a law or contract, draft an email you are nervous to send to a client, or when you just need to blow off steam. It is the person you travel to conferences with, that you go to lunches with, that you UT game - family of fourgo to dinner with - often. The person you clear your vacations with because you don’t want them to be put in a bind. It’s the person you cry with when they lose someone close. The person you share your stories with – the good and bad. The person you compare notes with when making investment decisions, college decisions, life decisions. It is the person who knows you better than yourself and, without you asking, offers to stay late with you when he notices you are under incredible stress. The person who sees and shares in your daily toil, joys and failures for years. It is the person who drives you crazy, but you can’t imagine living without. It is the person you hitch your wagon to, not unlike a marriage really, for better or worse.  

That was Eric. He was all of that but even more. At Husch Blackwell, Eric was the glue. He glued Austin to Dallas. Dallas to Kansas City, St. Louis, Wisconsin, and across our firm. He led our health law practice specialty area and his favorite thing was mentoring young lawyers and he was the best at it. He was the guy you called when you were angry about some firm management decision or wanted to get someone hired. For all of us, at all of those offices, he was the glue that bound us. He was all of that – we cried in his office, we trusted him, we loved him. 

Make no mistake; practicing law is hard. People trust you with their finances and in some cases their very freedom. They rely on you to save them from ruin. Great lawyers internalize that duty. Law is not a job, it is a vocation – it is a yoke. And unlike our Lord’s yoke, it is not light. It is heavy and it cuts. But Eric carried his yoke, and when mine got too heavy, he carried his and mine. And he did it all with grace and professionalism and a sense of humor. Boy did we love to joke with each other….. Mainly he loved to make jokes at my expense. Ok, to be fair, we both loved to make jokes at each other’s expense.  

We lost a great man on July 5th. But we will honor him. Sydney and Luke, your father loved you dearly. He bragged on you both always. Mary Beth, we are here – all of us at the firm – for you. Cherrie, you and Jack raised an amazing son and my best friend – thank you. He made all of our lives richer. What a legacy he leaves. I miss you Eric. I will always miss you. We will all miss you. 

Thank you. 

Since Eric’s passing, we have received inquiries on what can be done to help Eric’s family. An Education Fund directly benefitting Eric’s two children has been created. If you are interested in making a contribution, you can make a check payable to Mary Elizabeth Weatherford FBO Weatherford Educational Fund and mail to the following address:

North Dallas Bank and Trust
Attention: Dallas Banking Center
12900 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75230

View Eric’s obituary via The Dallas Morning News.