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Literacy Advance mourns the passing of former Board member and supporter Bill Linden

Bill Linden


Bill Linden, 80, passed away on the 14th of November 2012.  He was born April 4, 1932 in Denison, Texas to Eunice and Albert Linden. 

Bill graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Chemical Engineering from The University of Texas in 1954 and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi and the Navy ROTC. 

Bill’s early career path began in Japan as a US Navy Lieutenant on the USS Peacock Falcon Class coastal minesweeper. He then worked as a petroleum engineer for seven years in Tyler, Texas before finding his niche in law.  He attended law school at The University of Texas and graduated with distinction in the top 2% of his class, including Law Review status in January of 1969.  He joined Vinson & Elkins LLP in Houston as an Oil & Gas Tax Attorney and broke the firm record for partnership, making partner in 4 years, 8 months, and 18 days. Bill had a prominent career at Vinson & Elkins, and the highlight was winning a US Supreme Court case in 1984. 

Career honors include being selected by his peers to be included in “The Best Lawyers in America”, chosen to be Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review 1968-1969, elected member of the Chancellors of The University of Texas School of Law in 1969, and certified by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1969 and The Supreme Court of the United States of America in 1982. He taught at the University of Houston Law Center, as well as several courses on the Historical Jesus at Rice University.

Tax law paid the bills, but his true love was theology.  Bill took early retirement from Vinson & Elkins to study abroad at Oxford University in England, breaking another record as the oldest person admitted for a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. Bill graduated from Oxford in July of 2001. He authored and published “The Historical Jesus for Beginners”, which is the scholarly quest for understanding the human Jesus in the first century Middle East culture. 

Bill served 14 years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Contemporary Theology in Houston, was an Associate Member of the Westar Institute in California, and was a requested speaker at the Jesus Seminar, The Woman’s Institute of Houston, The Rice University Susanne M Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, and many Houston area churches.  Bill was also mentored personally in Christian community building by the late Scott Peck, author of many books, including “The Road Less Traveled”.  He was an active member in three Episcopal perishes in Houston:   St. Christopher’s, The Church of the Redeemer and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.      

Bill Linden’s career accomplishments are secondary to the people he helped:  his clients whom he served, the Vinson & Elkins attorneys he mentored, the church parishioners who he taught about knowing the Historical Jesus, and his family whom he loved.  A life well spent – Bill will be remembered for his brilliant mind, the lives he influenced for Christ and his generous heart.  Today he is embraced in the love of God and enjoys the company of saints and apostles he has only known before through scripture.

Bill is survived by his wife, Martha Ann; four children:  Leanne Linden, Laura Hand and her husband David, Eric Linden and his wife Ann, and Linda Ozenne and her husband Donnie; seven grandchildren:  Elise Norcini and her husband Mark, Emily Bowden and her husband Matt, Robert Hand and his wife Mary Elizabeth, Melissa Hand, Natalie Owens and her husband Seth, Makenna Ozenne, and Austin Ozenne; four step grand children:  Mae Morris and her husband Chris, Tate Marshburn, Ruth Marshburn, and Matt Marshburn; one great grandson, Charles Mosse Bowden and two step great grandsons: Grant Morris and Will Morris.

Memorial Services are at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church with reception following on Friday, November 16 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations made in honor of Bill Linden to one of the following charities:

  1. Literacy Advance of Houston
  2. The Foundation of Contemporary Theology
  3. The Community of Celebration 
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