Clay Lilienstern Obituary

O. Clayton "Clay" Lilienstern


Oscar Clayton "Clay" Lilienstern of Bellaire, Texas passed away Monday, the 11th of January 2021, after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 77 years of age.

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, colleague, and friend. He was born on the 13th of November 1943 to Oscar and Suzanne Lilienstern, of Houston. After graduating from Bellaire High School in 1961, Clay attended the University of Alabama, joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and graduated with a B.A. Political Science & History in 1965. He attended the University of Houston Law School, earning his J.D. in 1968, and served in the U.S. Army for four years, as Captain, Judge Advocate General's Corps. During his posting to the Pentagon, Clay also studied for and received his LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from George Washington University.

He began his civilian legal career with Andrews Kurth LLP in 1972, and he became a Partner with the firm in 1979. During his tenure with Andrews Kurth, Clay worked on many complex litigation cases, including the Howard Hughes estate case for which he would eventually appear before the United States Supreme Court. After helping lead Andrews Kurth for 25 years, Clay co-founded Hicks Thomas & Lilienstern LLP in 1997, which he helped build for four years before retiring from his legal career in 2001.

Clay was an enthusiastic and life-long student, as evinced by the other three advanced degrees he earned later in life: MBA from the University of Houston in 1992, MTS from Southern Methodist University in 2002, and MLS from Rice University in 2015. He was also a restless retiree, who never stopped working. Clay began a second career as an educator at Episcopal High School in Houston, where he served as a history and economics teacher and Assistant Head of School for six years combined. He then became Head of School for University School of Jackson in Jackson, TN from 2007 to 2013. After returning to Bellaire, Clay continued to serve, this time as a Member of the Harris County Appraisal Review Board for the past 5 years.

He believed in leadership and community service, and contributed his time and money to many organizations, including Annunciation Orthodox School, City of Bellaire Zoning & Planning Commission, Briar Club of Houston, and Nature Discovery Center. Clay was a man of great accomplishment, honor, ethics, and integrity, and he was above all a great provider and protector for his family.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Rebecca Lilienstern, son Robert Lilienstern, daughters Susan Mullen (Chuck Mullen), Kelli Lilienstern (Carl Hennagir), Melanie Henrikson (John Henrikson), and grandchildren Abigail Lilienstern, Patrick Mullen, Charles Mullen, Ann-Marie Mullen, Penelope Hennagir, and Cecelia Hennagir. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors, nurses, chaplains and staff at Houston Methodist Hospital, in particular Dr. Victor Narcisse and Melissa Peña, for their attentive care.
A private family in-person interment is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 16th of January. Guests may attend virtually and may view the service by selecting the "Join Livestream" link in the service information box on his memorial tribute at There you may also electronically share memories and words of comfort with his family.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed in his memory to Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle St., Bellaire, TX 77401 or Bellaire United Methodist Church, 4417 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX 77401 or Annunciation Orthodox School, 3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006.

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Published in Houston Chronicle from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 2021.

This obituary was originally published in the Houston Chronicle. Reprinted with permission