Photography

Leland "Lee" Brooks Couch

May 8, 1951 ~ July 29, 2020 (age 69)

Tribute

Leland “Lee” Brooks Couch was born on May 8, 1951 in Fort Worth, Texas, the second of three
children to J. O. Terrell Couch and Willynn Brooks Couch. He grew up in Houston and spent most
of his adult life in Austin. For the last several years, Lee lived in Wharton, Texas where his
grandparents had lived full lives. Lee died on July 29, 2020 in Houston after a battle with
advanced cancer. Lee graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1969 and earned a BA in
Government at the University of Texas at Austin in 1973. He was predeceased by his parents and
his cherished Labrador retrievers, Matilda, Luckenbach and Tilda Too. He will be missed and
remembered as a beloved brother, uncle, cousin and friend. Leland was passionate about the
outdoors, Labrador Retriever training, hunting, Formula Ford car racing and Texas history.
Not too long ago Lee shared these remarks: “He was proud of his given name, his ancestors,
proud of being a Texan, a state employee, and a lobbyist with Read-Poland and the old Bell
Helicopter Textron; he hoped that he had a small hand in writing some parts of good and fair
Texas laws, such as the Personal Watercraft comprehensive model bill passed into law first
in U.S. written by Texas Parks & Wildlife game warden Dexter Harris and himself; first
comprehensive BWI law in Texas; first boat manufacturer and dealer law in Texas; first
political action committee bill in Texas; the 1971 voter registration bill (that did not require
extra IDs photos or otherwise), helping Roger Williams of Bell and Senator Seliger provide
education for potential workers at Bell Amarillo; and had a small hand in keeping Texas
Tiltrotor Technology alive to see the V-22 Osprey emerge as a benefit to keeping enemies
away from America and saving lives of our own military young men and women. And he is
thankful for loving many, many people sometimes too much, maybe trusting too much,
sometimes not enough, but he was always thankful for the persons God let him love for a
while on earth. He is thankful to all those who put up with him and allowed him to be their
friend.” Lee was a loyal soul and a complete individualist.
Texas state government and legislative affairs were the focus of Lee’s career. He worked for the
State of Texas beginning in 1974 in the office of then Senator Jack Ogg. For the next four years
his work would also include the Texas Elections Division of the Office of the Texas Secretary of
State. Lee was actively involved with the redrafting of the Texas Election Code and various pieces
of election legislation, served as the first state election inspector in Duval County, and was the
Secretary of State legislative liaison to the Texas House and Senate on all election and ethics
issues. In 1978, Leland would join the office of Read-Poland Associates (now GCI Read-Poland)
as an account supervisor primarily interfacing on behalf of his clients with statewide elected
officials and members of the Texas Senate and House. He was dedicated to lobbying issues of
importance to his clients such as job training programs, workers’ compensation, health
insurance, environmental matters, political campaigns and action committees, grass roots
coalitions, and much more.
His clients included Boating Trades Association of Texas, General Dynamics, Texas Task Force for
Tiltrotor Technology, Governor William B. Clements, and Governor Mark White. Lee was
dedicated to his clients and to the State of Texas. In 2007, he went in-house joining his client Bell
Helicopter Textron as their first Manager of Legislative Affairs. Another special moment in Lee’s
career was researching, documenting and leading the acquisition of the historical marker for
Buen Retiro, the FIJI house at the University of Texas at Austin.
Leland was a life member of the University of Texas Alumni Association, Phi Gamma Delta
National Fraternity Alumni association, and the Culver Military Academy Culver Legion. He was
also a member of the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association.
Lee enjoyed friends everywhere, from the Country Club Place Apartments in Wharton to the
West Pole in Bee Caves, and towns in between. He specifically requested upbeat, positive
music, banjos, accordinans, fiddles, and loud piano starting with “I’ll Fly Away”, “Onward
Christian Soldiers”, “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life”, “Sweet By and By”, “Church in the
Wildwood” and “I Walk in the Garden with Him”.
Lee is survived by his brother J. O. Terrell (JOT) Couch, Jr. and Jot’s former wife Tee of Houston,
and their daughters Eleanor “Ellie” Couch Fanning, husband Ryan, of Dallas and Virginia “Ginny”
Terrell Couch of Houston; his sister Nancy Couch Davis and brother-in-law Barrett of Houston,
and their daughters Mattie Lillian Davis of Fort Worth and Robin Kate Davis of Houston. Lee is
also survived by numerous fun cousins in San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country with whom he
shared close friendships.
Since we are currently respecting social distancing, we will gather at a later date. Lee would
suggest you have a time with a close friend or two, perhaps consider making a donation to the
Texas Heritage Songwriters Association or the charity of your choice. Thank you all for the
memories.


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