Oct. 19, 2016 — Relatives, colleagues and friends gathered Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Professor Emeritus Stephen Zamora as a man devoted to his family, international good will, legal scholarship, and the University of Houston Law Center.
Zamora, a former dean who retired in 2014 after 36 years in the classroom, died in Mexico City on July 8 at the age of 72.
During the memorial service at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, he was eulogized by his brother, Tony, who reminisced about their happy childhood, another brother, John, who sang an original song, "Part of Me," and his son, Peter, and grandson, Landon, who described a warm and loving father and grandfather. The professor's daughter, Camille, sang "There Is a Balm in Gilead" during the service.
A leading authority on international and Mexican law, Zamora was praised by colleagues on both sides of the border for his advocacy in behalf of stronger economic, cultural and legal relations between the two countries. He founded the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the Law Center, and continued to serve as director after his retirement.
As they related personal stories and professional relationships, speakers remarked on Zamora's keen intelligence, curiosity, humor, genteel manner, and most of all, kindness.
At a reception following the service, Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes announced the establishment, with the support of Zamora's widow, Dr. Lois P. Zamora, and his family, of the Stephen T. Zamora Memorial Fund. The family contributed $100,000 to start the fund that will support the activities of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law specifically for hiring an interim director. The fund will provide scholarships to Law Center students, especially those interested in the LL.M. program in International Law.
"It is important for us at the Law Center to have Steve Zamora's legacy continue through activities associated with the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, which he founded four years ago," said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. "Steve had great vision. We will hold fast to Steve the man. We will hold fast to Steve's accomplishments; we will hold fast to the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law."
"Steve was one of a small group of U.S. legal scholars who knew equally well both U.S. and Mexican legal systems," said Lois Zamora, "and he encouraged his students and colleagues to think and learn comparatively. He knew that Mexico and the U.S. were becoming increasingly integrated economically and culturally, and he wanted his law students at the University of Houston to be able to respond to our ever-closer ties to Mexico.
"The Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, which my family and I are proud to support, advances Steve's vision by sponsoring research projects that involve both U.S. and Mexican legal systems, and by extension, the social, political and cultural issues that the comparative legal analysis always entails."
Zamora's grandson, Landon Whayne, with the help of his mother, the professor's daughter, Camille, remembers the good times he had with his grandfather.
UHLC Professor Michael A. Olivas reminisces about times he shared in Mexico with his longtime colleague.
Law Center Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson recalls the many kindnesses Zamora showed to students and colleagues alike.