Ervin August Apffel, Jr. passed into eternal life on the 11th of November 2015, in the loving presence of his family. He died the way he lived, embraced and surrounded by those he loved. He lived a full, rich and wonderfully productive life. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and uncle.
Erv was born in Galveston, Texas on the 9th of August 1929 to Ervin A. “Dutch” Apffel, Sr. and Angelina Coselli Apffel. Erv was a scholar-athlete at Kirwin High School in Galveston and graduated from St. Edward's University in Austin with a B.S. degree in 1951. He proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 with the 187th Field Artillery Observation Battalion and was stationed at Ft. Sill and Ft. Sam Houston.
After his honorable discharge from the service Erv returned home where he met and married the love of his life, Christine Matthews. Chris was a beautiful young nursing student at UTMB. Erv affectionately referred to her as “Chicken.” They embarked upon a 60 year love affair and were blessed with 6 loving children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. “Dad” changed to “Paw Paw” when the grandchildren arrived. They always looked forward to spending time with Paw Paw and loved him with their whole heart and soul. He adored them as well.
After their marriage, Erv and Chris made their new home in San Antonio where Erv attended St. Mary’s Law School under the G.I. Bill. While in law school, Erv was a part-time football coach at Texas Military Institute. He completed law school in just 27 months, graduating and passing the State Bar Exam in 1957. He and Chris returned to Galveston where Erv began his career as an assistant district attorney under the late Jules Damiani. After 4 years he left the DA’s Office and became an Assistant City Attorney, City Attorney and Acting City Manager for Galveston.
Erv next joined the law firm of McLeod, Mills, Shirley & Alexander. In 1964 he became a founding partner in the firm of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel (MAPA) from which he retired in 2009 at the age of 80. Throughout his long and distinguished legal career he was universally regarded as an outstanding trial lawyer in both State and Federal Court. He was referred to by many members of the Bar as a “legendary trial lawyer” with few equals among his peers. In trial Erv enjoyed the reputation of always being well prepared and fearless in the pursuit of justice for his client. His discipline, iron will, intelligence, organizational skills and ability to quickly absorb great amounts of information allowed him to successfully handle hundreds of cases at the same time. Erv was singled out by In Between Magazine as one of the 10 most powerful people in Galveston and the top trial attorney in Galveston County.
Erv was a devout Roman Catholic and a life-long member of St. Patrick Church. His passions in life were fishing and hunting and he was proud of the game management plan he put in place for the last 30 years at his ranch in South Texas. His “EA Ranch” was known to produce some of the finest white-tailed bucks in all of South Texas. He was an avid duck hunter as well and a former member of Port Bay Hunting Club in Rockport. He spent many happy hours with family and friends fishing on Galveston Bay and hunting deer, dove, quail and turkey in South Texas and ducks in Rockport. Erv also loved to entertain those he loved at his home on Crash Boat Basin in Galveston. Weekends and holidays were filled with fishing, crabbing, boating, skiing, tubing, swimming, sunbathing and enjoying great food. Everyone looked forward to the tasty barbeque he prepared on these occasions. New generations of family have tried hard to replicate Erv’s barbeque but with only limited success.
Erv was a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Texas Bar Foundation, American Board of Trial Advocates, Charter Fellow of the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Erv served as president of the Galveston County Bar Association and was very proud when, years later, his sons Trey and Darrell served as presidents of that Association as well. He was licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, all Texas Courts, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Erv served on the Board of Directors of Bankers Savings & Loan Association and as president of the O’Connell High School PTA where all 6 of his children graduated. He loved coaching his boys’ Little League baseball teams and spending time with his girls while supporting them in their cheerleading, drill team performances and dance recitals.
Above all, Erv was a man who always put his family first. He was constantly showing his love for them and encouraging them to do their best. He emphasized the importance of education, love of God, country and family. He taught character, courage and integrity to family, friends and countless young lawyers he mentored by the way he lived his life. He was truly a great American.
Erv was preceded in death by his parents, father-in-law and mother-in-law L.C. “Slim” and Willie “Maw” Matthews, his sisters-in-law Faye Clapsaddle and Mary Logsdon as well as his brother-in-law Lowell Charles Matthews, Jr.
Our beloved Paw Paw is survived by his loving wife, Christine; his six children: Jeannie Guarino and husband Mike, Ervin A. “Trey” Apffel, III and wife Karen, Pat Whittington and husband Miles; Pam Del Papa, Darrell Apffel and wife Pam and Christi Landry and husband Andy; his thirteen grandchildren: Sarah Apffel Cegelski and husband Jeff, Kelley Guarino Caballero and husband Buster, Katherine “Kate” Apffel and her fiancé Trey Boyd, Ross Apffel and wife Jennifer, Blake Apffel and wife Tara, Caylin Del Papa, Kaleb Apffel and his fiancé Callie duPerier, Lawrence J. “LJ” Del Papa, III, Moore Whittington, Mary Alex Apffel, Marlee Whittington, Kirby Jane Landry and Andre “Boots” Landry, IV; great grand-children: Phillip “Pip” Caballero, Sutton Apffel and August “Gus” Caballero. Other relatives include his brother R.A. Apffel and wife Selena as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Dr. James Goodwin, Dr. Clement Defelice and the emergency room doctors at UTMB for the wonderful care and attention they and their staff provided. A special thanks also to his caregivers who provided such kind and loving care. He affectionately called them his “sweeties.” They include Rose Brown, Anna Boyd, Tomasa Crear, Sadie Castano, Shirley Julian, Roshanda Coleman, Tara Walker as well as physical therapist John Soloman.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with family from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1010 35th Street in Galveston. The recitation of the Holy Rosary will commence immediately after visitation, with Deacon Doug Matthews officiating.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated by Father E.J. Stein, O.F.M. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1010 35th St. in Galveston on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 10 a.m. The interment will follow, via an escorted cortege, at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 2506 65th St. in Galveston.
Serving as pallbearers will be Erv’s grandchildren. Honorary Pallbearers include Ross Novelli, Sr., Bob Ford, Bob Shattuck, Sonny Knust, Clarence Cantini, Judge Peter Urbani, Eddie Janek, Randy Lee, John Parsley, Paul Anthony, Mike Gremillion, Sean Welsh, Tommy Stunson, Tony Mendoza and the lawyers at McLeod, Alexander, Powel and Apffel.
The family requests that donations be made in Erv’s memory to O’Connell College Preparatory, 1320 Tremont, Galveston, TX 77550; Galveston Island Meals on Wheels, 2803 53rd Street, Galveston, TX 77551, Ronald McDonald House of Galveston, 301 14th Street, Galveston, TX 77550 or to a charity of choice.