Stuart Henry was the first lawyer in Texas to make a living in environmental law on the side of the environment.  He was the first environmental officer for the City of Austin.  He 10637548 300x300was an auto mechanic before going to law school in Houston.  He was real, and hilarious, and loving, and fearless.  He is gone now, but will continue to inspire us every day.

Services are this Thursday at 11:00 a.m., Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 200 West Anderson Lane. His obituary and a guest book are linked  here.

Stuart Henry did more to protect the Edwards Aquifer and its Great Springs than any other person. He represented the Sierra Club in the landmark Endangered Species Act lawsuit to protect rare fish, salamanders, and other species that require clean and strong spring flows at Comal and San Marcos Springs. The lawsuit forced the State of Texas to establish the Edwards Aquifer Authority to limit Edwards Aquifer pumping in order to sustain spring flows during times of drought.

Stuart mentored and inspired a dozen or more lawyers to choose a life of defending the water, air, land, wildlife, and rural communities of Texas. Stuart nurtured the founding of the Save Our Springs movement, later serving as SOS Alliance Board Chair. Henry gave SOS Executive Director Bill Bunch his first job in law, insisting that Bill show up for the interview in a t-shirt, swim suit, and flip flops rather than take the time to go home to change clothes. The dress code stuck and continues to this day at the SOS office.

Henry saved dozens and perhaps hundreds of Texas farming and ranching families from being forced off their land for the construction of dams and reservoirs that would evaporate more water than they would store while destroying tens of thousands of acres of Texas riparian habitats and farm lands. He kept treated sewage from being discharged into the Highland Lakes and rivers and streams across Texas. When it was allowed to be discharged, it was treated to much higher standards because of Stuart. Austin drinking water and our lakes, rivers, and springs are clean and safe because of Stuart Henry. Even in retirement Stuart helped his Dripping Springs neighbors and SOS fight the absurd plan to dump Dripping Springs' sewage into Onion Creek.

Stuart recognized that the law was only one part of any battle to save a place worth saving. He always pushed his clients to join with their neighbors, ignore political differences, and create the kind of community necessary to protect any place of value over the long term.

Stuart taught us that you never know how much you can win unless you try and fight to the end. Pollution delayed is pollution denied.   And if you fight like hell and lose, the word gets around that there is a steep price to pay for ruining Texas waters, wildlife, and open lands.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Stuart's wife of 56 years, Virginia, and to his two sons and three grandchildren. We are forever blessed to have known and learned from Stuart and share in your loss.