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Mark Hart, co-founder of Fort Worth law firm, dies

Mark L. Hart Jr., 72, a co-founder of Fort Worth law firm Kelly Hart & Hallman, died on Christmas Eve morning, Dec. 24, after a 16-year ordeal with Parkinson’s disease.

In 1972, Hart moved his family back home to Fort Worth to open an office for the Vincent Elkins law firm, which he ran until 1979. In 1979, he, along with Dee Kelly and Bill Hallman and several others, founded the law firm of Kelly, Hart and Hallman. He was the managing partner of Kelly Hart & Hallman until his retirement, although he remained of counsel until his death. Dee Kelly died in October 2015.

Hart was born on April 21, 1943, to Frances Shear Hart of Waco and Mark Lafayette Hart of Fort Worth. He graduated from R.L. Paschal High School in 1961, The University of Texas at Austin in 1965 and the University of Texas School of Law in 1968.

While an undergraduate, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Texas Cowboys. In law school, he was associate editor of the Texas Law Review and graduated with honors.

In high school, at a time when Paschal was regularly a contender for state titles in baseball and basketball, he was a three-year starting pitcher and a two-year starting forward. After pitching for the Longhorns during his freshman year, intramural sports became his primary athletic outlet. He was named all-University 11 times in four different sports. He held a record for longest softball throw at UT.

During law school he led the “Legal Eagles” to two university titles as the team’s quarterback. Hart has been honored by his alma mater and his peers by the creation of the Mark L. Hart Jr. Endowed Chair in Corporate and Securities Law at the UT School of Law and the Mark L. Hart Jr. Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded annually to two UT students involved with the school’s intramural sports program.

He began his law career at the Vinson Elkins law firm in Houston in 1968. In 1969 he married Adele Perry. Hart served on many charitable boards, including as president of the Board of Trustees of Fort Worth Country Day School, president of the Board of Trustees of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, president of the local branch of the American Cancer Society and as a special advisor to the board of the Kimbell Art Museum.

Despite his many commitments, Hart regularly coached his children’s sports teams and enthusiastically supported their aspirations.


Service for Mark L. Hart, Jr., longtime managing partner and co-founder of Kelly Hart, will be held at 11 a.m. at University Christian Church on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Honorary pallbearers: Gus Bates, David Bell, John Cochran, Bill Hallman, Tom Marinis, Foster Nelson, John Oudt, Jim Pace, Armando Ramirez, Brad Scott, Dan Settle, John Snyder and John Young.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777 or michaeljfox.org; or to the charity of your choice.

Survivors: Hart is survived by his wife, Adele Hart; his son, Mark Hart III and his wife, Shannon, and their children, Mark, James and Mary Shannon; his daughter, Mary Lipscomb and her husband, Blake, and their sons, Jody and Miles; his daughter, Elizabeth Hart; and his sister, Harriet Hart and her husband, Sonny Wallace.

The family would like to thank the following people who loved him and cared for him during his illness: Lorena and Armando Ramirez, Glenda Hanney, Leslie Gordon, Shakari Lee, Brad Scott, Vladimir Angert, Marcos Santos, Noah Prewett, Chrystal Prewett, Jackie Crossin and Allegra Hayim.

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