>Kenneth A. 'Buck' Douglas


Former County Judge and District Judge Kenneth A. "Buck" Douglas passed away at about 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005, in Corsicana. Judge Douglas was born Feb. 17, 1927, to Lawrence Douglas and Gladys Arnett Douglas of the Cryer Creek community in northwest Navarro county. Graduating from Barry High School, Douglas joined the U.S. Army and served in Panama. Upon discharge from the Army, he enrolled in Navarro College. Married in 1947 to Dorothy Jo Owen, he was admitted to Baylor University School of Law, receiving his law degree in 1951. Douglas returned to Navarro County and practiced law with an office in Corsicana. He was appointed judge of the municipal court of the City of Corsicana in 1951. Two sons were born to Judge and Mrs. Douglas, Kenneth "Ken" Douglas in 1952, and Brett Owen Douglas in 1959. Douglas continued to practice law and serve as municipal judge until his appointment as constitutional county judge of Navarro County in 1957. During his tenure, he was faced with numerous challenges, among them the renovation of an aging courthouse, and the finance of the county's contribution to the construction of Interstate 45. These and other projects required remarkable management skills at a time when county revenues were extremely low. As county judge, "Buck" Douglas practiced fiscal conservatism and dedicated himself to the effective management of public affairs. Also noteworthy is that the Navarro County Courthouse was made accessible to handicapped persons long before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Judge Douglas left the county bench in 1972 to become executive director of the Texas Association of Counties, then a struggling organization committed to the assistance of county government in numerous ways, from legislative issues to liability management and insurance. Under his direction, the association greatly expanded its scope of operations and influence.

In 1976, Judge Douglas resigned as executive director of the association to seek the bench of the 13th District Court of the State of Texas. In this election he defeated the incumbent and served with distinction on the district trial bench for 20 years, never facing an opponent after 1976. As district judge, "Buck" Douglas heard all manner of family and civil disputes, as well as criminal cases including capital murder and organized crime prosecutions. Judge Douglas is remembered by the bar of Navarro County as a jurist who managed his considerable docket with firmness and fairness. After retirement, he continued to sit as an assigned visiting judge in complex and controversial cases. Other achievements for which Judge Douglas will be remembered are his participation in the founding of VFW Post No. 3366, and his service as president of both the Northeast Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association. He also engaged in ranching and the independent trucking business.

Judge Douglas will be deeply missed by those who believe that all persons are equal before the bar of justice as well as those who believe that the courts of America are the only institutions which stand between tyranny on one side and anarchy on the other.

He will also be remembered as a loving father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Jo Owen Douglas; his mother, Gladys Douglas; and his sons and daughters-in-law, Ken Douglas and Cindy Douglas and Brett Douglas and Dianne Douglas. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Allison Douglas, Ryan Douglas, Dustin Douglas, Daniel Douglas, Seth Douglas and Anna Middleton. Surviving relatives also include sisters and brothers-in-law, Marie Griffin of Carrollton, Dorothy Jean and Bob Ashford of Grand Prairie, Betty and Dan Lancaster of Athens and Wanda and Eddie McNeese of Kerens; sister-in-law, Bobbie Brown; nieces, Brenda Hodge and husband Coy and Kim Andrews and husband Larry; and many other nieces, nephews and friends.


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