Fort Worth

Prominent Fort Worth Lawyer Dies Following Battle with COVID-19

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Long-time Fort Worth attorney Rice Tilley died Wednesday from complications family say were related to COVID-19.

The 84-year-old Fort Worth native practiced law for half a century, retiring from Haynes and Boone Law Firm in 2014.

He may be best remembered, however, for his civic involvement.

Throughout his life, Tilley served on several boards including the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the University of North Texas, Texas Wesleyan University, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, among others.

For many years, he headed Leadership Fort Worth.

Tilley leaves behind a wife, four children and two stepchildren.

Clayton Odom is among Tillley's 17 grandkids.

He said it's his grandfather's contribution to family that they'll remember most.

“He was a loving, compassionate man who, if anyone knew him, you would know he was extremely driven, he cared deeply about the community, was very involved locally politically as well as in his non-profit work," said Odom.

Odom said his grandfather's death was sudden.

He said Tilley spent just a few days in the hospital after contracting COVID-19.

Though family couldn't be there in person with him in the end, Odom said said Tilley spent his final hours with them by phone.

“It’s kind of surreal, because you don’t realize how real this is until it touches your life. So wearing a mask and doing your part can make a very big difference. Because even if you aren’t compromised or aren’t at risk, there are people that other people love that are certainly at risk right now," said Odom.

Throughout his life, Tilley was very passionate about politics. Odom believes he'd want people to remember him by casting their votes.

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