William Overton Shelmire

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

William Overton Shelmire was born Jan. 20, 1930 in Dallas, Texas and died Aug. 5, 2018. He attended Armstrong Elementary School and graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

In 1952, he attended the Pan American Conference of Architects in Mexico City with his senior class. There he sat down with Frank Lloyd Wright, who recalled his own Phi Delta Theta college days. Other extracurricular activities included designing numerous “Round-Up” floats such as the “King and Queen of Hearts” which won “Best All Round” float in the big Texas University Round-Up Parade.

After graduation, he served an internship with Page Southerland and Page Architects of Austin. He then served two years in the United States Army at Fort Macarthur in San Pedro, Cali., before founding Beran and Shelmire Architects with Ed Beran, FAIA, in 1958.

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During his 50 year career, Shelmire and his partner designed some of the most notable buildings in Dallas, including the Anatole Hotel, World Trade Center, San Jacinto Tower, Dallas Woman’s Club, Junior League of Dallas, Episcopal School’s initial campus, the Hockaday School expansion, renovation of the historic Adolphus Hotel and restoration of the historic “Little Campus” at the University of Texas at Austin. He designed the first offices for the Dallas Cowboys in 1960, working closely with coach Tom Landry.

Shelmire was elected president of the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1984 and was advanced to the AIA College of Fellows, a lifetime honor in recognition of his contributions to the practice of architecture. He served as chairman of the University of Texas School of Architecture Foundation Advisory Council. He was a board member of the Dallas County Heritage Society and architect to the Landmark Advisory Committee of the Park Cities Historical Society.

He wrote numerous professional articles as well as his autobiographical story of growing up with his two brothers, “Secrets Under the Bridge,” which was a local best seller.

In 1956, he married Suzette D’Ayson Shelmire, who became his beloved soul mate for 62 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mabel Battle Bunch Shelmire and Dr. Jesse Bedford Shelmire II, and by his older brother, Dr. Jesse Bedford Shelmire III.

In addition to his wife, Suzette D’Ayson Shelmire, he is survived by his daughter, Claire Shelmire Crews and husband John David Crews, Jr. and their children, John David Battle Crews and Caroline D’Ayson Crews, all of Oxford, Miss., and son, Overton D’Ayson Shelmire and wife Mary Sowell Shelmire and their sons, Wesley D’Ayson Shelmire, William Rowland Shelmire, Thomas Christian Shelmire and his brother Dr. David Sutton Shelmire and wife, Margaret Mullin Shelmire, all of Dallas, and numerous nieces and nephews.

At the request of the deceased, there will be no funeral service.

Memorials may be sent to: The Overton Shelmire Scholarship Fund of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin: 310 Inner Campus Drive B7500, Austin, Texas, 78712-1009.