Edward Bailey McDonough, Jr. passed away peacefully with his wife, Dianne, and family friends by his side on May 5, 2017 at the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston after a battle with heart disease. He was born on June 14, 1939 in Galveston, Texas to Edward Bailey McDonough, Sr. and Ruth Stein McDonough, a family with a long history in Galveston commerce, notably McDonough Iron Works. Ed, as he was known to all, was a graduate of public schools in Galveston, including Ball High School and then following his Catholic upbringing, pursued undergraduate studies at Notre Dame earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Class of 1961). He then returned to Texas to pursue the study of law and graduated from the University of Texas School of Law (Class of 1964).
After a year of private practice in Houston, Texas, Ed joined the Harris County District Attorney’s office. In 1969 he became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and a year later became Chief of the Criminal Division. In 1974 President Gerald D. Ford appointed Ed as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. His distinguished career included serving as lead prosecutor in the USA v. George Parr case involving voter fraud in South Texas, a chapter in Texas politics which gave rise to many books about the Duke of Duval, as the defendant was known. Ed also served as lead prosecutor in the case involving the bombing of the Pacifica Radio Station in Houston, Texas. In 1968 Congress authorized federal authorities to obtain court orders to intercept communications of individuals suspected of violating federal criminal laws. In the early 1970s, Ed tried in Federal Court in Victoria the first criminal case in the Southern District of Texas resulting from a court-authorized wiretap. After leaving public office, he pursued the private practice of law defending white-collar crime accused.
Ed McDonough’s work in law earned many honors and awards, including letters of commendation from the Attorney General of the United States, the Internal Revenue Service, and a Special Achievement Award from the Attorney General of the United States. He became Board Certified in Criminal Law and was also active in professional organizations for lawyers, including serving as a Director of the State Bar of Texas, a Fellow of the Houston and Texas Bar Foundations, the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys (President, 1986-1987), Federal Bar Association, Southern District of Texas Chapter (President, 1976), the National Health Lawyers Association, the College of the State Bar of Texas (Director, 1995) and the American Health Lawyers Association. Ed lectured extensively, including to the National Home Health Care Association Annual Law Symposium, the American Bar Association Institute on White Collar Crime, the Texas Association for Home Care, the National Association of Former United States Attorneys, the Wednesday Tax Forum of Houston, and the Texas Health Defense Network. In 2014 the State Bar of Texas recognized Ed as a Fifty Year Lawyer.
Following the tradition of the McDonough clan’s association with the sea, Ed had a lifelong love affair with sailing. In fact, his great-grandmother, Ellen Bailey McDonough, came to this country with her family in a sailboat. It took them three months to make the journey from Kildare, Ireland to Mobile, Alabama in the 1850s.
In February 1976, Ed fell in love with and married a dynamic redhead, Dianne Geisenberg, and the two built a life pursuing a common passion for sailing, travel and entertaining friends. He was an accomplished sailor and was one of the first sailboat owners to be accepted by Lakewood Yacht Club where he moored “Caviar”, his prized 47’ sailboat. The couple also sailed bareboat charters in waters of the Caribbean sharing many adventures. When not sailing, the couple traveled the world, especially to the Far East.
Social activities rounded life and included lifelong associations with the Galveston Artillery Club, the Galveston Country Club, and the Alley Theater as a season ticket holder for 45 years. Ed and Dianne never missed a Mardi Gras party and were active in Galveston through the Knights of Momus since its revival as a Galveston Mardi Gras Krewe in 1985. As a Charter Member of the Krewe of the Knights of Momus, he served as President, Ball Captain, Ball Chairman, and reigned over Galveston Mardi Gras as King Frivolous LXXXIV in 1999.
A deeply spiritual man and devout Catholic, Ed was a member of Saint Mary Basilica and served on the Advisory Board for Holy Cross Chapel, Houston, Texas. He served several decades on the Development Board for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and was an Advisory Board member of the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston.
His father and mother preceded him in death, and he is survived by his wife Dianne of 41 years, brother-in-law Dr. Robert L. White and wife Dodie and sisters-in-law Linda Rieves, Penny Kirby and husband Joe; cousins Dr. Byron D. Neely and wife Lynn, Dr. Warren F. Neely and wife Kimberly, Margaret Kelso and her husband Dr. Harry B. Kelso, Jr., Nancy McDonough, J. Moore McDonough, along with numerous nephews and nieces.
Ed was a loyal son, husband and friend to many who sought his advice. His dedication to the law was balanced by his love of life and he was as at ease in the courtroom as the helm of his favorite sailboat. His engaging smile and clever, sarcastic wit will often be toasted at sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
Following a private burial, friends are cordially invited to a Rosary at 10:30 in the morning of Friday, May 12, 2017, at Saint Mary Basilica, 2011 Church in Galveston, Texas. A funeral Mass will immediately follow the Rosary.
Serving as honorary pallbearers are Kelly Frels, Irwin M. Herz, Jr., Theodore S. Hirtz, Howard S. Hoover, Jr., Alvin A. Horne, Dr. Harry B. Kelso, Jr., James D. Kelso, Harris L. (Shrub) Kempner, Jr., Michael Kirby, O. Joe Kirby, Dr. Byron D. Neely, Dr. Warren F. Neely, James L. Ware and Ronald G. Woods.
In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in Ed’s memory may be made to the Salvation Army, Saint Mary Basilica (Galveston), and the Alley Theatre.