Hobby Halbert McCall was born in Dallas, Texas on May 16, 1919, roughly two weeks after the firm first opened its doors on May 1, 1919. His step-brother, Paul Bradfield Horton, was born in Dallas on October 19, 1920. The pair grew up on Beverly Drive in Dallas and attended Highland Park High School, where Paul was a member of the swimming team, debate club, and junior ROTC. Both men received their bachelor’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, where Hobby founded the “Southwestern Club”. Paul was a member of the Naval ROTC, a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and he earned a “T” athletic letter as a member of the varsity fencing team.
Hobby went on to study law at Southern Methodist University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Hobby graduated in 1942, and he was admitted to the bar on September 10, 1943, shortly before heading off to World War II. Paul initially enrolled at The University of Texas School of Law, and he attended law school there until entering military service for World War II.
World War II
During the War, Paul was stationed at the Naval Operating Base in Norfolk, VA, and served as a gunnery officer on the U.S.S. Ingersoll (DD652) in the western Pacific Theater near Japan, earning 9 battle stars and attaining the rank of Lieutenant Senior Grade. His ship was repeatedly under attack from Japanese fighters, including kamikaze attacks. Following the surrender of Japan, Paul was discharged from the Navy and returned to Dallas, where he received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Southern Methodist University. Paul was admitted to the Texas Bar on November 15, 1946, and went to work as a litigator for Jackson Walker L.L.P., founded in Dallas in 1905. On May 19, 1949, Paul married Susan Jeanne Diggle, who worked as a model for Sanger Brothers, Titche-Goettinger, and Neiman-Marcus. The couple had two children, Bradfield Ragland Horton (born 1952) and Bruce Ragsdale Horton (born 1954).
On June 7, 1944 (D-Day+1), Hobby—then 25 years old and Captain of the 2nd Battalion of the 359th Infantry Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division—landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France. Beginning July 15, 1944, the 2nd Battalion battled the Nazis outside of Périers, France. On July 26, 1944, a company in Captain McCall’s battalion suffered exceptionally heavy casualties when crossing the Seves River. All of the officers of the company with the exception of a second lieutenant became casualties. Captain McCall was sent forward to assume command of the company, reorganize it and continue the attack. Without regard for his own safety and while still under heavy enemy artillery, mortar fire and fire from tanks, he joined the company and went about, personally exposing himself to fire, regrouping the men and encouraging them in the attack. After reorganizing the unit he placed himself at the head of the company and led it in a successful assault, although half of the company had become casualties. Hobby was struck by a frag round, and badly wounded during the assault. He was later evacuated, but not until the company had liberated Périers. Captain McCall was honored with the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Silver Star with clusters.
Upon returning to the United States, Hobby spent the ensuing year in one hospital after another, recovering from his wounds. On December 27, 1944, Hobby married Jane Batjer Jennings from Abilene, and they had two children together: Hobby Halbert “Hal” McCall, Jr. (born 1948) and Lucy Dean McCall (born 1952). In 1946, Hobby’s legal career began as a litigator for the United States Department of Justice Tax Division, assigned to the Eastern Civil Trial Section. From 1946 to 1949, Hobby defended several dozen lawsuits brought against the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, ultimately moving to Philadelphia.
Becoming McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P.
In 1948 and 1949, respectively, Paul and Hobby left their respective positions to join their father in the practice of municipal bond law. Their oldest brother, Randolph McCall, left the firm in 1949 to experiment with citrus farming in the Rio Grande Valley.
When John D. semi-retired in 1955, the McCall brothers continued on their father’s practice, including his litigation practice. Between 1955 and 1965, the firm brought bond validation suits on behalf of the Brazos River Authority, San Antonio River Authority, Tarrant County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, Texas Turnpike Authority, and Trinity River Authority. The firm also defended attacks on bonds issued by the City of Dallas and Tarrant County. In 1976, Hobby, Paul, and Assistant Attorney General Jim Murdaugh successfully defended the City of Corpus Christi in a bond election contest brought by its residents, claiming that the standard ballot language used for bond propositions was too vague (542 S.W.2d 720).
Like their father before them, both Paul and Hobby continued John D’s practice of writing many of the laws of the State of Texas relating to financing of public improvements, as well as amendments to laws relating to the refunding or refinancing of all types of outstanding bonds (now codified as Chapter 1207, Texas Government Code), and to bond issuing procedures of general application to all political subdivisions (now codified as the Public Securities Procedures Act, Section 1201.001 et seq., Texas Government Code). In addition, with the adoption of the Clean Water Act by Congress in 1972, which mandated major improvements to the clean and waste water systems of states and municipalities, Paul authored legislation that permitted the establishment of interstate compacts (including the Red River Compact), which facilitated EPA participation in funding water treatment plant construction for local users. Paul authored many basic general laws governing public finance, including the bond provisions of the Texas Education Code applicable to school districts, community college districts, and State Universities. He was instrumental in the financing of many of the major lakes, water supply reservoirs, and water systems constructed by Texas political subdivisions, as well as many local and regional sewage and pollution control systems, turnpikes, tollways, and several major airports.
In the early 1960s, the law firm was renamed “McCall, Parkhurst, Crowe, McCall & Horton,” after each of the five members of the firm at that time. Although “retired”, John D. continued to work on financing large water projects throughout the state. He died unexpectedly on March 23, 1962 at the age of 70. A few months later, Clarence Crowe stopped by the McCall residence to check in on Hazel McCall, now a widow. Clarence began sweating profusely, and Hazel sent for an ambulance to take him to the hospital, where it was determined Clarence had suffered the first of a series of heart attacks from which he would never recover. Clarence Edward Crowe died on November 19, 1962, at the age of 59.
Pete Tart recalls that, “Within a short period of time, we had lost two of our senior partners. We were out there hanging on by our fingertips. I was just a kid.” The three remaining attorneys—Millard Parkhurst, Hobby McCall, and Paul Horton—renamed the firm “McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P.”, and quickly hired E. Ray Hutchison to help them carry on the practice. Pete Tart, who had clerked for the firm during law school (1961-1964), became the firm’s fifth attorney in 1964. In 1969, the firm hired an Assistant Attorney General, and family friend of Clarence Crowe, Robert “Buddy” Lewis.