Joe Beck Hairston

Joe Beck Hairston, age 82, of Rice’s Crossing passed away Sunday Aug. 30, 2020, in Austin.

Joe lived a rich and varied life. Always a believer in the value of education, he obtained five degrees, beginning with a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1960, and ending with a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi in 1995.

He was also an avid traveler, having visited more than 100 countries on six continents by the time he put away his maps and traveling bags in 2018. He even had his 75th birthday party at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Joe served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1964. He was first assigned to the cruiser, Boston, out of Boston and then the destroyer, Allen M. Sumner, out of Jacksonville. He was proud of his naval service and believed service to others, in whatever capacity, was important. He also liked Boston much better than Jacksonville.

Joe was also a successful attorney. He practiced school law over five decades, most notably with the firm he cofounded in Austin, now known as Walsh Gallegos. He represented school districts across the state, including, most importantly, Taylor Independent School District, which honored him for his service upon one of his retirements from the practice of law.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Beth Hairston; and his uncle, James Hairston.

He is survived by his son, Charles Hairston and wife Amy; his beloved granddaughters, Jordan Hairston and Ashley Hairston; his partner, Mary Willis; his cousins, Lucy Hairston and Coles Hairston; and numerous family and friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. at Condra Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Hairston Clan Scholarship. Donations can be made online at