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Eight Bells: James Liston

Published on December 19th, 2019

James T. Liston, 57, passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 2019. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was a practicing attorney in Houston for almost three decades focusing on appellate, admiralty, and maritime law.

After graduating with a BA with honors in History from The University of Texas at Austin in 1984, specializing in British History, he received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1987. While in law school, James served as Research Editor of the Houston Law Review and President of the Admiralty Law Society.

He grew up sailing the waters of Galveston Bay where his passion for boating led him to previously serve as Commodore of the Houston Yacht Club while currently being the President of the Galveston Bay Power Squadron, Historian of the Sussex Motor Yacht Club, and a member of the national Flag and Etiquette Committee for the United States Power Squadrons.

He also served as an adjunct professor of legal research and writing at the University of Houston Law Center where many future lawyers benefited from his love of the law and passion for writing. James was admitted to the State Bar of Texas, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas, as well as the bars of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States Supreme Court.

James was an expert consultant worldwide for flag history, especially nautical flags, and was a frequent Wikipedia editor, which fed his life-long love of flags. James reveled in the wonder and mystery of ships and the magic of the sea. He loved a good limerick and everyone he met was his shipmate and friend.

“James never met a stranger, and unfortunately it sometimes takes an event like this to realize just how many lives he had touched in such a dramatic way,” said Edward Matuszak about the Celebration of Life on December 15 at Houston Yacht Club. “This was no ordinary memorial for an ordinary man, but a celebration of the life of a gentle giant.”

He is survived by his mother Roberta Liston, brother Jonathan Liston, sister Becky Liston Carter, brother-in-law John Carter, nephew Alex Carter, niece Tina Carter, Aunt and Uncle June and Cory Liston, Uncle Perry Vogel, and cousin Tracey Liston.

Two causes close to his heart were CedarS Camps and HYC Ragnots.

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