On July 2, Gov. Rick Perry announced he has appointed James L. “Jim” Bayless Jr., of counsel at Winstead in Austin, to the Texas State Cemetery Committee, a three-member group that oversees daily operations for the beautiful and historically significant Austin graveyard.
According to the cemetery’s website, Texas greats buried there include former U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan; author James Michener; former Gov. John Connally; and 286 Texas judges. To qualify for burial in the cemetery, the deceased must be a Civil War veteran; a state lawmaker or other elected official who served for at least 12 years; or a person named by a governor’s proclamation or a concurrent legislative resolution who has made significant contributions to Texas history.
Bayless says he began to realize how celebrated the state cemetery is after a recent phone call from a Californian who visited the cemetery and "devour[ed]" its lore and legend.
Bayless says he loves the place too, and he looks forward to his new assignment because it "dovetails with my passion for Texas history." The cemetery serves "as a resting place for an enormous number of Texas heroes," he adds.
Bayless, a member of the regulatory law practice group at Winstead, served as legislative liaison for then-U.S. Sen. John Towers, R-Texas, during the Reagan administration. More recently, his civic activities included the Greater Houston Partnership Federal Relations Committee; the University of Texas System Archer Center Advisory Board; and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, among others.
-- Miriam Rozen