Lea Frances Courington
March 21, 1952 – June 30, 2018
Lea F. Courington, 66, passed away on June 30, 2018 following a brief severe illness. Lea was born on March 21, 1952, in Heavener, Oklahoma. Lea was the daughter of M.L. Courington, Jr. and Frances Ann Courington (nee Richmond, now Thomsen).
Lea's family moved to Willcox, Arizona in 1958, where she served as the editor of the Willcox High School newspaper, and graduated in 1970 as valedictorian. Lea received a Bachelor’s degree in English in 1974 from Southern Methodist University where she graduated magna cum laude. While at SMU, Lea served on the Texas Governor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women; President of the Association of Women Students; was named Outstanding Senior Woman; was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society; and was a member of Mortar Board. Lea received her J.D.from Duke University in 1977. While at Duke law school, Lea was a member of the Mordecai Society and was a class representative of the class of 1977. The Mordecai Society is an organization dedicated to safeguarding the welfare of the Duke School of Law.
Lea and her husband Chris practiced together at Strasburger & Price, LLP., Gwinn & Roby, LLP, Curran, Tomko & Tarski, LLP, and Stewart Courington Dean Dugger, PLLC before joining Dykema Cox Smith in 2015. Lea additionally worked for several years as a federal prosecutor in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and was also a partner with the law firm of Moore & Peterson. Lea was an experienced and successful health care and trial lawyer and one of the first dedicated health care attorneys in Texas. Lea was recognized as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, by “D Magazine” as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas; as one of the Top Lawyers in Texas by Texas Monthly/Thomson Reuters, and as a Texas Super Lawyer since 2007. She was a published author and frequent speaker on antitrust, white-collar fraud and health care legal issues.
In 1980, Lea married the love of her life, Chris Harvey. Lea and Chris traveled extensively and lived life to the fullest enjoying their family, dear friends, amazing travels, and fine cuisine. Lea was a Francophile, spoke fluent French, and enjoyed her many trips to France with Chris, especially their trips to Paris. Lea and Chris were devoted to each other and had a wonderful marriage. Lea left happiness and smiles in her wake. She was a wonderful dresser, had a fantastic sense of humor and laugh, and possessed a Churchillian gift for deadly repartee. Lea was fiercely independent and a strong proponent of women’s equality. Lea loved her country: each June 6th, she would send out a very eloquent and heartfelt email reminding her friends and family of the sacrifices made for us all by the Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy. She loved animals, especially her beloved cats over the years. She also loved history, architecture, music, food and wine, and pursued a loving, compassionate, and inclusive Christian faith. She was truly a Renaissance woman.
Lea was a tireless supporter of civic and charitable causes with Duke University as her favorite cause of all. Lea was an active member of the Duke University Law Alumni Association (LAA) and served as President of the LAA for 2017-18. Lea served as co chair of the Duke North Texas Women’s Forum and was a member of the Duke North Texas Regional Board. In 2017, Lea was honored by Duke University with the “Forever Duke” award for her service to the university. Lea served also as both the President and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Friends of WRR, the Dallas public classical radio station. She served as Chair of the Advisory Board, Archives of Women of the Southwest for DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.
Lea was preceded in death by her father, M. L. Courington, II, her stepfather, William H. Thomsen, and stepbrother, William H. Thomsen II; and a stepsister, Susan Thomsen. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Chris Harvey; her mother, Frances Ann Thomsen of Lawton, Oklahoma; a brother, John Courington, and his wife Sylvia Burgess of Lawton, Oklahoma; a stepdaughter, Kelly DeBerry, and her husband Richard of Fort Worth; a stepson, John Harvey, of Dallas, Texas; stepgrandchildren Will and Katherine DeBerry of Fort Worth; a cousin, Buell Dean Richmond, III, of Howe, Oklahoma, a stepnephew and stepniece, Bradley Burgess and Beverly Burgess, of Lawton, Oklahoma, and many, many friends, all of whom she dearly loved and cherished.
Lea lived her life to its fullest – traveled widely, and gave generously – of her resources to the causes she loved, and of her time and knowledge in mentoring dozens of law students and young lawyers. Many tears have been shed over her passing by friends and beloved colleagues, and by many acclaimed attorneys with whom she has worked - many of whom she has mentored over her years as a top notch attorney with the highest of ethical values. She was genuinely interested in people and their lives and never missed a chance to support and encourage others. We all loved her deeply and she will be greatly missed, but we will celebrate her life often and she would want all of you to know how incredibly blessed and grateful she is to have shared in your life in some way.
A memorial service will be held at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church at 8011 Douglas Avenue in Dallas on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. A private family interment will be held at Crestview Memorial Cemetery, Wichita Falls, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations may be made to Operation Kindness, Friends of WRR, or St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas.
- Memorial Service Thursday, July 12, 2018