Joseph E. Ashmore, Jr.
  • The Ashmore Law Firm, P.C.
  • 3636 Maple Avenue Dallas, Texas 75219
  • 214-559-7202

Forever in Our Hearts: Joseph Ellis Ashmore, Jr. 

July 24, 1933-  April 5, 2024

Honorable Joseph (Joe) Ellis Ashmore, Jr. a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather and pillar of his community, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2024, at the age of 90. Joe was born July 24, 1933, in Dallas, Texas, and he lived a full and meaningful life, leaving a mark on all who knew him. He spent his life dedicated to his faith, family, friends, and community, always putting others before himself.

Early Education and USAF Service

Joe attended St. Edwards Catholic School from 1940-1946, followed by J.L. Long from 1946-1947. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, at 16, in 1950. He attended SMU for his undergraduate degree and graduated in 1954. He met the love of his life, Janie Mery, in 1953 and married a year later. He entered the Air Force that same year as an officer 2nd Lieutenant. He was in the Air Force 3 years and during that time lived in San Antonio, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Little Rock, Arkansas. After completing his full-time service in the Air Force in 1957, he and Janie settled in Dallas, Texas. Joe remained in the Armed Forces as a Reservist until 1967 when he was Honorably Discharged as a Captain.

Law School to Judge "The Maverick"

While serving in the Reserves, Joe worked as Vice President and head of the Legal Department for the Overton family at Texas Bank until 1975. During that time, he received his JD at SMU Law School. He remained at Texas Bank until he was unanimously appointed by the Commissioners Court to the newly formed Probate Court Number 3 in Dallas County. This Court was very unique as it was the first court created of its kind in Texas to hear all mental illness cases. Joe spent hours late at night at Parkland Psychiatric Emergency Room to ensure those who were mentally ill were getting the best care possible. During his 11 years on the bench, he was known as "The Maverick." In 1982, Joe had developed enough expertise to help state legislators rewrite the mental health law. He became a hero to the families of mental health patients because he took up the cause in public, fighting to increase services and improve conditions in mental health treatment centers. While on the bench he worked closely with the Secret Service in 1984 when the Republican National Convention was held in Dallas.

Private Practice a Family Affair

In 1987, Joe stepped down as Probate Judge, to go into private law practice and began the Law Offices of Joseph E. Ashmore, Jr., P.C. While working in private practice, Joe would often appear at the Texas Capitol to assist in writing new probate laws. He would continue attending the Texas College of Probate Judges meetings and sit on the Board of Directors for the College. He also continued attending the National College of Probate Judges and would frequently assist Judges both in Texas and all over the United States, in both Probate and Mental Illness matters. Joe continued in private practice until COVID, at which time he began limiting his time at the office. Joe loved to spend time with his family.

He Leaves Behind...

He loved the family trips to Las Vegas and the Virgin Islands. He enjoyed his visits to Lebanon to see family and visit the birthplace of his grandparents. He especially loved the horse races where you would see him every Friday. In 1979 he decided to give ranch life a try and spent every weekend in East Texas with his brother Frank, his Dad and Mom, Joe and Lillian, and his family with nieces and nephews. Joe is survived by his loving wife, Janie Ashmore, his 4 children, Joseph Ellis Ashmore, III and his wife Karen Ashmore, Gary Michael Ashmore, Mary Elaine Ashmore, and Lori Ashmore Peters, along with his 2 grandchildren, Alexa Marie Peters and Luke Donald Peters. He is preceded in death by his son-in-law, Rick Peters. He is also survived by Ryan Mura, Kristen Mura Ferguson and her husband Seth Ferguson and their daughter Lucy Ferguson. Also surviving are his brother, Frank Joseph Ashmore, Sr., with his wife, Edna Ashmore, his sister Jeanne Ashmore Doxey with her husband Adrian "Buddy" Doxey and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and cousins. Donations in his honor may be made to Parkinson Voice Project, Scottish Rite for Children and Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Business Biography

Joseph E. Ashmore, Jr. was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1963. He is a retired Probate Judge and the owner and operator of the Law Offices of Joseph E. Ashmore, Jr. P.C.  He has vast experience in Probate, Ancillary Probate, Banking and Trust Law, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Elder Law, Mental Health Law and Civil Litigation. 

Prior to opening his Law Firm, he was unanimously appointed by the Dallas County Commissioners Court to the newly created Probate Court No. 3 in June of 1975.   He was the Judge of Probate Court No. 3 from June 1975 until he retired in September 1986.  Probate Court No. 3 has not only probate jurisdiction, but also sole jurisdiction over the mental health cases in Dallas County.   Mr. Ashmore was instrumental in making certain changes to the Mental Health Code by attending congressional hearings in Austin with regard to same.

Prior to this appointment, he began his career with Texas Bank and Trust Company in September of 1954. He worked his way through the various departments at the bank and in 1967 was appointed Vice President and head of the Legal Department.

Mr. Ashmore is on the Board of Directors for the Texas College of Probate Judges and remains active with the National College of Probate Judges. He is named as an Expert Witness on cases and serves as arbitrator and mediator.


  • Southern Methodist University (J.D., 1963)
  • United States Air Force (1955-58)
  • Southern Methodist University (B.B.A., 1954)

Bar and Court Admissions:

  • Texas, 1963
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit and 11th Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Texas

Professional Affiliations:

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas County Bar Association
  • Dallas County Bar Association’s Senior Lawyer Mentor Program
  • Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation – Board of Trustees of the Texas Bar Foundation
  • Faculty member of the National Judicial College/National Probate Judges
  • Board of Directors of the Texas College of Probate Judges
  • Executive Committee Member of Friends of Reverchon, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization


  • Spanish (conversational)
  • Arabic (conversational)

Born: Dallas, Texas

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