Alexander “Alex” Wade Bolton, a native of Alexandria, Louisiana who became a prominent and widely respected young lawyer in his adopted home of Dallas, died on Saturday, October 21, 2017, as a result of an automobile accident. He was 32 years old.
Although he was a Bolton, Alex attended Alexandria Senior High, leaving an indelible impression on so many of his classmates and teachers for his razor-sharp wit, boisterous sense of humor, and incredible compassion for others. For example, when my father passed away in 2001, Alex painted a vibrant portrait of a dragonfly as a gift for my sister, because he wanted her to have something that would brighten up her room. “He may have had people who tried to bully him,” a high school friend said of Alex, who leaves behind his partner Gary Lee “J.R.” Gower, Jr., “but he could demobilize anyone with his charm and his humor. He never made enemies.”
After high school, Alex attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas and then enrolled at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, where he thrived and excelled both as a student and a leader.
There likely are not too many people from Alexandria, including his peers, who ever knew that one of their own native sons had become such a widely admired young leader in the Dallas legal community, but during my very first week at SMU Law, I quickly discovered that Alex, who I’d known since we were both kids, was somewhat of a law school celebrity. He organized the very first reception for the students of my incoming class, taking time to personally interact with each and every student, and he was universally admired by both the faculty and the administration. If I’d ever thought I would have to explain to my professors where Alexandria was, I was immediately disabused upon learning that Alex Bolton had already put our hometown on the map.
“Alex was a very loyal and engaged alumnus of our law school,” writes Jennifer Collins, the Dean of SMU Law, to The Bayou Brief. “Always cheerful and eager to help, for years, Alex has been instrumental in bringing programs and events to the law school through the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers to benefit our students and graduates. He was a very good friend to the school and a remarkable example of the positive, can-do attitude that makes our graduates so special. His kind spirit and leadership will be sorely missed by all of us at SMU Dedman School of Law.”
Judge Dennise Garcia, a professor at SMU Law who is perhaps best known for conducting the very first same-sex marriage ceremony in Texas state history, was also shaken by the news of his tragic death. “Just stunned to hear word of Alex Bolton’s passing,” she wrote on Twitter. “The family law community has lost another passionate voice in family law.”
Only three days before his death, Alex won election as Treasurer of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL). “Alex always made everyone around him smile and laugh,” Paul Simon, DAYL President, tells The Bayou Brief. “He had an ability to deal with difficult discussions and issues in a lighthearted, but serious way. I always admired the energy and effort Alex put into DAYL and the numerous projects he worked on, including the Charity Ball. Alex’s passing leaves a large void in DAYL. The organization will never forget Alex’s lasting contributions.”
On behalf of our entire team at The Bayou Brief, my friends with SMU Law, my family, and my former colleagues and friends at City Hall in Alexandria, I express my deepest condolences to his family, his partner, and his closest friends. In his short life, Alex became a pride of both Dallas and Alexandria, and so many of us, including myself, will always owe Alex eternal gratitude for his joyous humanity.
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