HOUSTON- Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 as the first Black woman to be United States attorney for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Attorney Gaynelle Griffin Jones has died. The 64-year-old Houstonian was also the first Black woman to serve on the First Court of Appeals in Texas.
“There was never a dull moment with her, she was definitely a busy woman all her life.” said her daughter, Athena Jones. She added, “She certainly pushed people to achieve greatness. She wanted everyone to aim high.” Jones encouraged Athena to pursue her career in journalism and even pushed her husband to finish his doctorate degree last year. Additionally, her husband of 26 years, Robert Jones stated “She got onto me about finishing my Ph.D. studies, she always put her family first. Her family was her heart.”
Jones’ 40-year legal career began after graduating from Boston College Law School in 1972. She has been both a state and federal prosecutor in Louisiana and Texas and practiced corporate law in Boston and Houston. Most recently, Jones served as litigation counsel for Hewlett-Packard Co. She was also an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the University of Houston. Jones received many honors and awards that celebrated her continued activity in the community, the legal profession and her church. Jones was also a deaconess at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Jones was born in Dallas in 1948 and moved to Houston in 1986. She loved to read long novels and always took at least one vacation a year.
Jones received treatment from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for three years before she died on Friday, March 1st.