Wardlow Lane II


Wardlow Lane II, age 81, died Thursday, Jan. 13, following a lengthy illness.

Wardlow was born Oct. 27, 1940, to Sam W. Lane Sr. and Irene Childs Lane, who predeceased him. He grew up in Austin, Texas, and was a 1958 graduate of Austin High School. He spent many summers in Center, Texas, visiting his uncle, Judge Wardlow Lane, and aunt, Lois Lane. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1967, and practiced law in federal and state courts in Texas and Colorado. 

After graduating from law school, Wardlow served as assistant attorney general during the administration of Texas Attorney General John L. Hill. In 1974, Wardlow was part of a team that, at the behest of state tax collectors, filed a lawsuit demanding payment of delinquent entertainment taxes. This led Willie Nelson, at his next performance in Austin, to display a homemade “Impeach Hill” banner in protest. Recognizing he couldn’t know everything 110 attorneys were doing, Hill used this incident to announce what became known as the “John Hill Rule” in the Attorney General’s office: “… if we sue Dolph Briscoe, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, Darrell Royal or Willie Nelson, I want to know about it.” Hill, Stromberger, et al., John Hill for the State of Texas: My Years as Attorney General (2008) at 130.

In 1975, Wardlow and his family moved to Center, where he opened his law practice on Church Street. Among other clients, he served as attorney for the City of Center. Wardlow later relocated to and opened a law practice in Pagosa Springs, Colo., where he also served as city attorney. 

Wardlow retired from the practice of law in 2010, returned to Center, and remained a life-long learner, reader and traveler. He was known to say that “if you stopped learning, you stopped living.” Despite an early interest in table tennis, his real love was snow skiing and being in the mountains. Wardlow combined his love of skiing, family and friends by organizing several ski trips to Colorado. Wardlow also loved football season and watching his favorite team, the Texas Longhorns.

Wardlow is survived by his wife of 36 years, Linda Bell Lane, and four adult children: Wardlow Lane III (Catherine Mallory), of Center, Texas; Lauren Lane, of Grapevine, Texas; Aleshia Fife (Keith), of Gaithersburg, Md.; and Mark Massey (Wendy), of Kemah, Texas.

Known as Granddad or WaWa, Wardlow is survived by 14 grandchildren: Jared Lane, of Edmond, Okla.; Cole Lane, Landry Lane, Jacob Lane, David Vazquez, Allana Gallant, Jackson Fife, Harrison Massey, Savannah Massey, Hunter Massey, Colton Massey, Conrad Keaton, Sydney Keaton, Blair Keaton; and two great-grandchildren, Kaydence Lane and Hudson Lane.

Wardlow is also survived by his brother, Sam W. Lane Jr. (Frances).

Funeral arrangements are being managed by Watson and Sons Funeral Home, 1554 TX-7, Center, Texas. Visitation with the family is scheduled for Friday evening, Jan. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Watson and Sons. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m. at the Oaklawn Memorial Cemetery in Center, Texas.

The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library, 619 Tenaha Street, Center, TX 75935.