Longtime Granbury resident, business owner, civil servant, and philanthropist, David Southern has passed away at the age of 72. The son of a minister and a real estate agent, David graduated high school from Borger High School in 1968 and then attended Abilene Christian University. At ACU, he earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree in Psychology, and he also met his future wife, Claudia Parrish, who he married in 1975. In 1980, with a couple of small loans from his mother and Claudia’s parents, David and Claudia founded Southern Concepts in Granbury which was established to provide housing and life-services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
In 1985, David and Claudia traveled to Washington D.C. where David gave testimony in the landmark Supreme Court case City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc. As a result, the court ruled that additional requirements, by municipalities, from group homes for people with intellectual disabilities, was determined to be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This is one of very few instances in which the Supreme Court has held government legislation to be unconstitutional, resulting in thousands of homes nationwide to be able to serve the intellectually disabled community free from municipal discrimination.
In addition to his passion to help others, David was also passionate about civic leadership serving on the city council for a decade, and then as mayor of Granbury for 15 years. David Southern is the longest-serving elected official in the history of Granbury. Among his many accomplishments in city leadership, David led the development of the city’s “Moments in Time” Hike and Bike trail, the Granbury City Hall, the City Beach Park, the Lake Granbury Conference Center, and he pushed for the fire department’s first ladder truck which helped pave the way for multi-story building development beyond the Granbury Square. David also served on many boards which help veterans with PTSD and economically disadvantaged individuals with housing. He spent decades in service as a member and in leadership of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Granbury helping children through donations and scholarships. For fun, David enjoyed playing racquetball at the YMCA, travel, spending time with friends and family, discussing politics, and celebrating his grandchildren. He could also be seen at many fundraisers every year donating funds and auction items for charity.
David is preceded in death by both of his parents, Jack and Loraine Southern, his brother, Richard Southern, and his mother and father-in-law, Claud and Roberta Parrish. He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, his daughter, Alison Southern Ullom, and her husband, Zeb Ullom, as well as son, Jack Southern, and his wife, Jacci. He is also survived by 3 grandchildren, Alex, Drew, and Baylor, as well as his aunt, Diana Defibaugh, sisters-in-law, Karen Fletcher and Celia Beamon, brother-in-law, Todd Parrish, and his wife, Shawn. Finally, David was also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
A public wake and celebration of life will be held at the Lake Granbury Conference Center at 6pm on Monday, December the 19th, following a private burial ceremony for family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made, in David Southern’s name, to the Lake Granbury Kiwanis Foundation, Inc. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=V6CY27PZAMQ2W
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