Judge J. Jack Yarbrough Obituary

July 23, 1937 ~ April 14, 2024

86 Years Old


A funeral service for Judge J. Jack Yarbrough, 86, of Nacogdoches will be held at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 19, 2024 at Laird Funeral Home with Bro. Toby Self officiating and eulogy offered by June Clifton Price, John Heath, Jr. and Albert Weatherly.  Interment will follow at Cold Springs Cemetery in Garrison. Visitation will be held from 5-8pm on Thursday, April 18, 2024 at Laird Funeral Home.

Judge Yarbrough was born on July 23, 1937 in Elmo, Texas and passed away on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Nacogdoches.

J. Jack was a 1955 graduate of Highland Park High School in Dallas County and attended Southern Methodist University, earning a BBA degree in 1959 and a Juris Doctorate in 1961.  He then passed the June 1961 State Bar Exam prior to his 24th birthday, on July 23, 1961.  For the next 14 years, he practiced law and served as a college professor during ten of those years, serving 8 years at SFASU.

Judge Yarbrough was elected justice of the piece in 1975, and then served as the first judge of the Nacogdoches County Court at Law, beginning on April 30, 1975 until July 31, 2002, with the tireless support of his great office staff, dedicated associates and thereafter, as a visiting State Senior Judge.  

He was a US Navy Reserve retiree, a “Mustang”, serving 8 years as an enlisted member and 15 years as a JAGC officer.

In 1978, he organized the Nacogdoches Fredonia Rotary Club, served as its first president and immediately thereafter, as the club’s secretary/treasurer for the next 25 years.  He became the club’s first Paul Harris Fellow and its first inductee into the Roll of Fame of Rotary District 5910.  He was also the recipient of Rotary International’s prestigious individual honor, the Four Avenues of Service Citation.  

An avid bridge player, he was an ACBL Gold Life Master and enjoyed playing with his diverse group of friends here in Nacogdoches where he held the titles of player, Director and Tournament Director.

Judge was a life member of Milam Lodge #2 AF & AM for over 53 years.  He is a past Master Mason of Milam Lodge #2, serving in that role in 1974.  In 1975, he served the Grand Lodge of Texas as District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District 20 and in 2019, earned his 50-year service award.

Judge was an active supporter of Little Leage Baseball, initiated a little league program in Lewisville Tx and spent more than 20 years as an Umpire.   He was also a very loyal Texas Rangers fan!

J. Jack’s involvement in his career and community was only part of the things he enjoyed.  He was a fan of drafting, home design, woodworking and carpentry.  He was extremely fond of clocks; those with roman numerals were amongst his favorites.  He and his son, Carl, built a grandfather clock together, and it, along with several others, feature an orchestra of chimes, to this day, each quarter hour!  His love of card games led him to be the host of a weekly game at his home for many years.  Lots of shenanigans and laughter were shared with several wonderful friends.  He also enjoyed trips to Reno, Vegas and “the boats” to play the table games.  Family game nights were very common with J. Jack being surrounded by friends and family who knew if he was getting beat, Judge would get a bit grumpy!  And when games were not being played, he would find himself swinging around the square-dancing floor, enjoying an evening with his wife and showing off his skills!

Judge Yarbrough is survived by his son, John Carl Yarbrough & wife, Amy; grandsons, John “Bo” Yarbrough and Graham Yarbrough & wife, Kelsey; great grandchildren, Elias, Anson, June & Laurel; stepson, Ronnie Bush & wife Karen and their children, Lauren Bush and Leslie Hall & husband, Chad and their children, Lakyn and Cooper; brother, Gene Yarbrough; as well as a niece, nephew, & their children.  J. Jack is also survived by his first wife and mother of his two children, Nancy Yarbrough.

He is preceded in death by his daughter Karen, parents John Calvin & Stella Yarbrough, and just a mere 3 1/2 months ago, his beloved wife, of 40 years, Dorothy (“Darling Dotty”).

Serving as pallbearers will be Graham Yarbrough, John “Bo” Yarbrough, Ronnie Bush, The Honorable Judge Jack Sinz, The Honorable Judge Greg Sowell, David Shofner, Ron Collins and John Fleming.  

Honorary pallbearers will be The Honorable Judge Joe Lee Register, Ken Wood, Mike Johnson, Albert Weatherly, Bob Ecker, John Rulfs, Dr. William “Bill” Hairston, Tom Belanger, and The Honorable Judge Jeff Davis.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Judge J. Jack Yarbrough’s honor to local charities, The Nacogdoches Animal Shelter at 3211 SW Stallings Drive, Nacogdoches, Texas 75963 or VFW Post 3893 at 2406 Hunter Road, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judge J. Jack Yarbrough, please visit our floral store.