GRIER H. RAGGIO
(1913-1988)LOUISE B. RAGGIO
Known as the "Mother of Family Law in Texas," Louise Ballerstedt Raggio was also a mentor, a civil rights activist, and a champion for the rights of women and children. Raggio & Raggio was formed in 1956 when Louise Ballerstedt Raggio left her position as Dallas County's first female Assistant District Attorney to join her husband, Grier Henry Raggio, Sr., in private practice.
She fought for decades in the courts, in bar associations, and in the Texas legislature to change Texas family laws and make them fair to women and children. Grier Raggio lovingly supported Louise's law reform and advocacy work while he built his own career in real estate and civil litigation. The present firm carries on the founders' core value: listen carefully to the client's family law needs, then act to the best of the lawyer's ability to satisfy the client's custody, financial and emotional needs, using counseling, fact-gathering, negotiations, and litigation as necessary. Attorney Barbara Van Duyne and other professionals have joined Grier and Louise's three sons and one of their grandsons in their continuing commitment and work for families at Raggio & Raggio, PLLC.
Louise was born on June 15, 1919, and died on January 23, 2011. She grew up on a black dirt cotton farm 20 miles east of Austin. She was the only child of Hilma Lindgren and Louis Ballerstedt, children of Swedish and German immigrants. Her parents' modest education and economic circumstances did not stop them from supporting their daughter through Austin High School, where she was valedictorian, and the University of Texas in Austin, where she graduated second in her class. Upon graduation from college, Louise won a Rockefeller Fellowship to Washington, D. C. She always treasured this year of work and study as one of the best years of her life. Upon the completion of her fellowship, she returned to Texas and met and married Grier Henry Raggio, her husband of 47 years until his death in 1988. Louise is survived by her three sons, Grier Jr. and wife Lorraine, Tom and wife Janice, Ken and wife Patty, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Louise had many firsts. She was only woman in her class at the SMU School of Law, the first female criminal assistant district attorney in Dallas County, the first Chairwoman of the Texas Family Law Section, the first female Director of the Texas Bar, and the first chairwoman of the Texas Bar Foundation. Her most satisfying professional accomplishment was her leadership in the reform of Texas Property laws that gave married women the right to own property, the first step in the massive reform of Texas family law that has become the Texas Family Code. In honor of her dedication in both civil and legal matters, she has been the recipient of local, state, and national awards, some of which bear her name. The Louise B. Raggio Endowed Lecture series was established at her alma matter, the SMU Dedman School of Law, with lecturers conducted by legal luminaries such as US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Louise was committed to her profession, but she was equally committed to her family. The deep love, devotion and respect felt by her family is the result of that commitment. We will always remember the home cooked meals, the vegetables from her garden, and her wonderful sense of humor. As a friend has said, "she did so much because she didn’t know she couldn’t."
Links to videos others have done about Louise's life and accomplishments such as KERA Channel 13's excellent 2008 video (29 min) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTW_tXQEvuE. (8 minutes)