By Katherine L. Davis, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee for the Northern District of Texas (Lubbock)
“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off!” [Abe Lemons] There is no better way to describe Robert Wilson in his career as an attorney, as a trustee, in his life thus far, and surely in his retirement! He has filled and will continue to fill every second of every day with meaning and purpose and fun. Despite his letter to the UST indicating his retirement was effective 9/30/2021, his true retirement date is March 31, 2022. After 41.5 years as a Trustee, it would be a mistake to think that those years define his career. Tenacity, Intelligence, Energy, Integrity, Compassion, and Service are the appropriately definitive adjectives.
Tenacity, Intelligence, and Energy
Robert graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1968. He served as an Assistant District Attorney in central Texas for four years from 1968-1971. Then in 1971 he became an Assistant U. S. Attorney for West Texas eventually becoming the Chief of the Lubbock, Amarillo and San Angelo Divisions until he went into private practice in 1979. Almost simultaneously, he was offered the position as one of the charter Standing Chapter 13 Trustees beginning October 1, 1979 serving the Lubbock Division of the Northern District of Texas. At the time, the NDTX was a UST pilot program which was eventually adopted by all states except two. It is certainly fair to say, he did not start out as a “max comp” trustee as he started with no cases and no money!His law firm, Sims Kidd Hubbert and Wilson, carried the trusteeship for almost seven years. Eventually his trusteeship expanded to include the Abilene, Amarillo, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls divisions. Robert initially believed in the concept of Chapter 13 and has seen firsthand the fruition of its benefits. He weathered the Y2K edicts, BAPCPA changes, the creation and running of a 10-year Mortgage Conduit program, and the merging of a friend’s trusteeship and staff into his. The best way to describe Robert’s trusteeship would be to imagine the evolution of the Flintstones into the Jetsons!
To say that Robert was extremely busy, would be an understatement. While busy with his law practice and the trusteeship, in 1980 Robert was appointed a Chapter 11 trustee in a massive nursing home case. He eventually became president of the company and ran it for 34 years. In 1986, Judge John Akard was appointed the Federal Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Texas. He chose to educate Robert about the NACTT and its benefits by simply suggesting he should go to the annual meeting and indicated that he had already signed him up to attend. Robert, of course, attended and has attended all the meetings since that time. He states that among his most cherished honors has been serving on the Peer Review Committee and working with and becoming friends with so many NACTT members. Of course, his greatest honor was serving as the NACTT President in 2014.
Integrity, Compassion, and Service
Robert has always believed that to carry the honor of calling oneself an attorney requires one to serve others. He has never failed to serve anyone and everyone he could. Robert has been the head usher at the First United Methodist Church in Lubbock for 25 years and counting. He certainly knows how to tell someone to “Sit Down” with authority and grace! He has been the Director of the Lubbock County Alternative Dispute Resolution Center for 20 years, so far. They have awarded him the “Peace Pipe Award” multiple times for his efforts! He has served as the President of the South Plains Council of Boys Scouts, and the Red Cross! He has achieved perfect attendance for 43 years (that’s weekly meetings, folks!) in Rotary while serving in every board position available.
Robert was the cofounder of the Lubbock County Bankruptcy Bar Association.True to his beliefs, it has served the area attorneys, the Texas Tech law school, and the Lubbock community from monthly CLE luncheons to scholarships programs for law students to pro bono clinics, etc. He took those same beliefs and was the force behind the formation of the Bankruptcy Division of the Stater Bar of Texas which honors him by yearly awarding the Robert Wilson Distinguished Service Award to a deserving attorney in Texas. He was the first recipient thereof.
Redirection, Retirement, and Back to the Beginning
Robert’s plans for his future without Chapter 13 are not vague and his daily calendar is filling up! He intends to spend time with his wife, Marcia, who has requested that the new Trustee keep him busy as she thinks he will drive her nuts within a few weeks. (Presuming it’s possible for her to be any nuttier that she already is!)He has two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren all living in Texas! Their first trip involves a statewide tour to visit them all including movies, baseball games, dance recitals, and cheer competitions! Have no fear, he will, of course, work in Rotary meetings as needed. While continuing to represent clients in his law practice, he plans to go hunting with his friends and family, continue to conduct classes on antique clock repair, and attend all Texas Tech men’s basketball and baseball games. Chapter 7 Trustees have already asked him to assist in special cases for them. He has already outfitted his law office with upgraded equipment and resources.He has no intention of slowing down – he is merely redirecting his energy! Robert Wilson, who is a brilliant, honorable man and great friend to all (except Panasonic! Ask him!)will never allow himself a day off! While he may be retiring from one of his jobs, he will never retire from his love of the law and heart for service!