John Simpson, III (1949 – 2023)

Of Counsel


John Elzie Simpson, III, (“Juice”), 74, of Lubbock passed away on August 3, 2023, just one day after celebrating his fiftieth anniversary with his wife, Carolyn Byrd Simpson.

He was born in Tifton, Georgia on February 9, 1949. He was the first son born to John Elzie Simpson, Jr. and Jim Mae Swann Simpson. He was raised in Tifton and Athens, Georgia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, where his father was a salesman for Lance Incorporated, a snack food company. The summer before his senior year of high school, John’s family moved to Houston, Texas and he graduated from Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas. From there he attended Texas Tech University where he earned his degree in business administration and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. John then proceeded on to Texas Tech University School of Law where he received his law degree. John is the first in his family to receive a college and graduate degree.

Upon receiving his law degree, John joined Johnny Splawn to practice law at Splawn Law Office. In 1979 John became a partner and the firm was renamed Splawn and Simpson Law Offices. John spent 49 years at Splawn and Simpson adding his dear friend, Tom Pitts, as partner in 2004 and changing the firm’s name to Splawn Simpson Pitts. The only thing that was greater than his reputation in the legal community was his love and loyalty for his staff at Splawn Simpson Pitts. John received many awards and honors for his legal work and trial advocacy. He was appointed to the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Tech School of Law and the James E. Denton Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Lubbock Area Bar Association. John loved the law and practiced it zealously until his death.

During law school, John met the love of his life, Carolyn Byrd, whom he married in Lockney, Texas, on August 2, 1973. He was a devoted Kappa Kappa Gamma husband. John and Carolyn had two daughters, Corey and Kendall, whom they raised in Lubbock with the help of John’s parents, Megaw and Big Daddy, and Carolyn’s parents, Gran and Pop (Fred and Virginia Byrd). John went to countless dance recitals, tennis matches, golf tournaments, school concerts and plays. As the girls got older, he was always ready to help Corey and Kendall with any “projects” they had in their dorms, houses, apartments whether they were in Norman, Oklahoma or Charlottesville, Virginia or anywhere in between.

John was an avid golfer all of his life and counted his golfing buddies among his closest friends. John was a fierce fan of all Texas Tech sports, especially Texas Tech football. He and Carolyn were season-ticket holders for over 30 years. He made “family trips” to out-of-town games against Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, Texas, and the 2007 Gator Bowl against his daughter’s alma mater, the University of Virginia, because as he said, “How often are Texas Tech and Virginia going to play each other?” John also made family trips to the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl to cheer for his “adopted” team, the University of Oklahoma, while Kendall was a student there.

John also had an on-going curiosity for history, religion, and music. He took a three-year course at Congregation Shaareth Israel to learn more about Judaism and frequently taught both adult and youth Sunday School at First United Methodist Church. He loved musicals, especially Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Ever learning, in midlife, John picked up a guitar and began years of weekly lessons. John loved the companionship of his dogs, Honey, his childhood cocker spaniel, Dakota, his beloved Alaskan Malamute, and of late, sweet Lucy, his rescue mix. Being John, he also enjoyed taking care of a community of rescued box turtles in his backyard.

Some of John’s greatest joys were serving his community in various roles. As an avid golfer, John led Hillcrest Country Club Board of Directors from 1987-88. He was very proud to have served as chair of the Staff Parrish committee the year First United Methodist Church hired Cliff Wright as its Senior Pastor. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Texas appointed John to serve as member of the Texas Board of Law Examiners, the board responsible for qualifying applicants for admission to the State Bar of Texas. John lead the Board of Law Examiners as its chair from 2008-2013.

John firmly believed that there were not many problems that could not be solved by eating a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese (preferably from the Lubbock restaurant, Chez Suzette), taking a hot shower, and going to bed early.