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August 30, 1944, ~ November 10, 2022 (age 78)


On Thursday, November 10th of 2022, Fred Leland Tinsley Jr., husband, father, son, brother, proud Marine, and decorated attorney, passed away at the age of 78 in Dallas, TX.

Fred was born in Detroit, Michigan on August 30, 1944, to the delight of his father, Fred Tinsley, Sr., and mother, Naomi Tinsley. One of seven children, there are many stories of the mischief, fun, and memories that they experienced together.

According to many family members, Fred was an inquisitive child with a quest for knowledge who always challenged himself. His academic prowess and competitive spirit propelled him to excellence in academic settings and beyond. These qualities of character were manifested throughout his entire life. 

Fred was always an honor student, and he received awards not just in academic competitions, but in extracurricular activities as well. In middle school he began his journey to becoming an accomplished trumpet player, winning several awards through his school years. Due to his work ethic and determination, he became valedictorian of his high school class. As one of his extracurricular activities, he was active in the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the 2nd highest rank, Life scout. When his sons became Boy Scouts, he became active with their troop and volunteered as a member of the Circle Ten Council.

After graduation, Fred attended Southern University and completed his freshman year before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, and he served a tour of duty in Vietnam. Later, Fred became a lifetime member of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars. While in the Marines, he played with the Marine Corps Band and was also a part of the Marine Corps judo team, a sport he became involved with while stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

Fred resumed his education at Southern University. Upon his return to undergraduate school, he became editor of The Digest, the student newspaper, for 2 years before receiving his Bachelor’s in political science.

Fred continued his time at Southern University’s Law School to pursue his juris doctor and became the founding editor of Res Nova, the forerunner of the current Law Center publication. Additionally, in 1973, he served on the research staff of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. The following year, Fred became a trial attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement, and eventually went into private practice as a criminal defense lawyer.

In this capacity, he became board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in criminal law and maintained certification for 40 years. During this time, he was also a member of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Dallas Legal Services, an adjunct member of the City of Dallas Civil Service Trial Board, and member of the board of directors for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Dallas County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Another civic responsibility included serving as a board member of the Mental Health Association of Dallas County.

Fred served as an associate judge of Dallas Municipal Courts. He was first appointed as judge of the 195th Judicial District Court by the governor in the late 1980s and was later reelected to serve in the same court. He presided on the bench as judge from 2007 until his retirement in 2016.

Well known and well respected, based on votes by his peers, he was named by Texas Monthly magazine as a Super Lawyer in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2011, he was inducted into the Southern University Law Center Hall of Fame.

Fred also enjoyed a good “dad joke” and often shared the same ones. We all knew the punchlines and each time, he would laugh until red in the face as if it was the first time he had told it. Sometimes, all it took was reciting the punchline to make him laugh.

Fred was a proficient judoka (practitioner of judo), earning the Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Jujitsu and Judo. He became a lifetime member of the Kodokan. He was also certified as a regional referee and Jujitsu rank examiner by the United States Judo Association.

Fred Tinsley is preceded in death by mother Naomi Tinsley, father Fred Tinsley Sr., sister Constance Carolyn, and sister Ollie Annette. He is survived by wife Ollie, sons Fred III and Gregory, daughter Jennifer (David), brothers John (Billie), Leo, and Kenneth (Angela), sister Naomi, and several nieces and nephews.

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