O. Clayton "Clay" Lilienstern

November 13, 1943January 11, 2021

Oscar Clayton “Clay” Lilienstern of Bellaire, Texas passed away Monday, the 11th of January 2021, after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 77 years of age.

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, colleague, and friend. He was born on the 13th of November 1943 to Oscar and Suzanne Lilienstern, of Houston. After graduating from Bellaire High School in 1961, Clay attended the University of Alabama, joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and graduated with a B.A. Political Science & History in 1965. He attended the University of Houston Law School, earning his J.D. in 1968, and served in the U.S. Army for four years, as Captain, Judge Advocate General’s Corps. During his posting to the Pentagon, Clay also studied for and received his LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from George Washington University.

He began his civilian legal career with Andrews Kurth LLP in 1972, and he became a Partner with the firm in 1979. During his tenure with Andrews Kurth, Clay worked on many complex litigation cases, including the Howard Hughes estate case for which he would eventually appear before the United States Supreme Court. After helping lead Andrews Kurth for 25 years, Clay co-founded Hicks Thomas & Lilienstern LLP in 1997, which he helped build for four years before retiring from his legal career in 2001.

Clay was an enthusiastic and life-long student, as evinced by the other three advanced degrees he earned later in life: MBA from the University of Houston in 1992, MTS from Southern Methodist University in 2002, and MLS from Rice University in 2015. He was also a restless retiree, who never stopped working. Clay began a second career as an educator at Episcopal High School in Houston, where he served as a history and economics teacher and Assistant Head of School for six years combined. He then became Head of School for University School of Jackson in Jackson, TN from 2007 to 2013. After returning to Bellaire, Clay continued to serve, this time as a Member of the Harris County Appraisal Review Board for the past 5 years.

He believed in leadership and community service, and contributed his time and money to many organizations, including Annunciation Orthodox School, City of Bellaire Zoning & Planning Commission, Briar Club of Houston, and Nature Discovery Center. Clay was a man of great accomplishment, honor, ethics, and integrity, and he was above all a great provider and protector for his family.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Rebecca Lilienstern, son Robert Lilienstern, daughters Susan Mullen (Chuck Mullen), Kelli Lilienstern (Carl Hennagir), Melanie Henrikson (John Henrikson), and grandchildren Abigail Lilienstern, Patrick Mullen, Charles Mullen, Ann-Marie Mullen, Penelope Hennagir, and Cecelia Hennagir. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors, nurses, chaplains and staff at Houston Methodist Hospital, in particular Dr. Victor Narcisse and Melissa Peña, for their attentive care.

A private family in-person interment is to be conducted at two o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 16th of January. Guests may attend virtually and may view the service by selecting the “Join Livestream” link in the service information box on his memorial tribute at There you may also electronically share memories and words of comfort with his family.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed in his memory to Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle St., Bellaire, TX 77401 or Bellaire United Methodist Church, 4417 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX 77401 or Annunciation Orthodox School, 3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006.


  • The Family Will Gather For A Private Interment

    Saturday, January 16, 2021



O. Clayton "Clay" Lilienstern

have a memory or condolence to add?

Elena Watkins

January 17, 2021

My husband, children, and I were fortunate to be next door neighbors for 50 years to a wonderful string of Liliensterns, starting with Oscar and Suzanne. Too many memories, and lots of good stories, like how Clay beat us consistently at Trivial Pursuit. In fact, Bill and I always said Clay would be our “phone a friend “ if we ever got on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He was a good friend and an accomplished professional who will be missed by all who knew him.

James McRae

January 16, 2021

Clay you will be missed, you were loved and respected by many people. I have known you since high school, we were in law school together and we share hundreds of hours discussing our lives, our values and tons of laughter and experiences!
Rebecca, you and the children are in our prayers. May the memories of Clay be with us always, which for me will moderate the loss we feel at his passing.
Goodbye, dear friend...thanks for the memories!

Jim & Sue

Tom Behrman

January 16, 2021

Clay and Rebecca are fellow Rice MLS grads and have been frequent flyers at continuing education events at Rice. I will miss Clay's zeal for life and learning and his exquisitely inquisitive and insightful mind. He certainly led an interesting and accomplished life and will be missed. All condolences to his family at this time.

Martha Dorrill

January 16, 2021

Clay enriched the world through his fine mind, his curiosity about wide-ranging subjects, his genuine interest in other people and his many abilities. He will be greatly missed!

Peyton Burch

January 15, 2021


We are terribly sorry for you loss. You, Clay and your family are in our prayers. Clay was a gentleman and a scholar in every sense of the word. Truly a class act.

He was brilliant, polished and conducted himself with grace and dignity. I loved his sense of humor and ability to laugh.

Cathy, Trent and I share in your grief. Clay's impact on our lives will endure.

Peyton Burch

Audrey Koehler

January 14, 2021

I am so sorry to hear about Clay. I so enjoyed working with Clay at Episcopal High School. He was always a great source of wise experience and I will never forget the twinkle in his eyes and the smile on his face every day. He will be missed by many who were lucky enough to work with him.
My deepest sympathy,
Audrey Koehler

Susan Frantz brassard

January 14, 2021

My deepest sympathy for the loss of your Daddy, you are in my prayers and my heart breaks for the entire family. Sending prayers to all. I’m right here for any need. Lots of love, susan brassard and family

Ruth Reynolds

January 14, 2021

I am sad for the loss of your wonderful husband and father Cousin Becky and family. Each of you enjoyed a unique relationship with Clay. Surely the legacy he leaves you includes his inherent qualities of kindness, intellectual pursuit, love for family and sense of adventure. His was a life well lived and we were all the better for having known him.

Holly Williamson

January 13, 2021

I am so sorry to hear of Clay’s passing. I had the honor of practicing law with him at Andrews Kurth, and for a brief period of time, I was one of Clay’s AK partners. Clay always had a smile on his face and delivered positive and encouraging words to others.
I know Clay is resting in peace.
My sincere condolences to Kelli and all of Clay’s family.

Holly Williamson

Steve Maroney

January 13, 2021

I am saddened to hear of Clay's loss. While serving as Chairman of the USJ board, I worked closely with Clay. He brought stability and leadership to our school at a challenging time. I admired his quiet dignity. USJ is a better institution because of Clay's contributions, and I am a better person for having known him. My condolences and prayers to his family.