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UH Law Center mourns passing of former Harris County Judge Shearn Smith ‘51

Sandra Guerra Thompson and Auyanna Aird interview Dr. Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five, during the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

University of Houston interviewed Shearn Smith for the 2013 video documentary, “University of Houston, War and Growth, 1939-1950.”

Feb. 3, 2023 — Shearn Smith, a 1951 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 17. He was 95.

According to his obituary, Smith became a judge for the Harris County 61st District Court in 1968. Cougar spirited, he was a former president of the University of Houston Alumni and frequent performer of the National Anthem at the UH football and basketball games.

During World War II, Smith served in the Navy. After the war, Smith was part of a large class of veterans who attended the University of Houston. The GIs were “eager and hungry for knowledge and accomplishments” Smith said in a 2013 video interview for the “University of Houston, War and Growth, 1939-1950” documentary.

The family requests that donations be made to Faith Church, Shearn Smith UH Band Scholarship, UH Law Center Judge Shearn Smith Award or Judge Shearn Smith Masonic Library Gray Lodge.

To donate to UH Law Center, go to Please indicate that your gift is in memory of Smith and designate it to the Judge Shearn Smith Award.

Click here the read Smith’s full obituary.

Click here to view the full video “University of Houston, War and Growth, 1939-1950.”

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