Ebb Grindstaff steps down after 60 years as city attorney

Celinda Hawkins Managing Editor Runnels County Register
Ebb Grindstaff who has served as city attorney for Ballinger for 60 years, stepped down effective Jan. 1. He will still remain in private practice.

Ballinger City Attorney Ebb Grindstaff, has officially stepped down from the position that he has held for a little over 60 years. He stepped down as of Jan. 1.

Grindstaff said he will continue to work in his private law practice.

“I have had a good run as city attorney,” Grindstaff said. “I will continue practicing - I love the law.”

On November 29, 1957, upon motion by L. A. Faubion, the Ballinger City Commission appointed Everett J. “Ebb” Grindstaff as city attorney with a retainer fee of $50 per month for his term of office. Each city council since that time has seen fit to continue his service as city attorney, and his term has continued for over 60 years. G. W. Moore was mayor at the time Grindstaff was hired.

Grindstaff, 86, has been licensed for 63 years and is still a practicing attorney in Ballinger. Over six decades as the city attorney, Grindstaff has associated with many mayors, city councilmen, city secretaries, city administrators and city employees.

“I've known Ebb Grindstaff for over twenty years and was honored to serve with him on City Council for nearly seven years,” said Ballinger Mayor Sam Mallory. “Ebb is an extraordinary individual that has been passionate about serving his community throughout his years of service. His drive and ambition to this day is unmatched and extremely phenomenal. God Almighty broke the mold when He created Ebb. We Love you and honor you Ebb.”

He remembers the city’s water issues always being at the forefront of projects that the city was working on. He recalled former City Manager Tommy New who was there when the city crews and city employees, were scrambling to get a pipeline built for the Lake Ivie water line more than a dozen years ago.

“He rolled up his sleeves and worked on the pipeline, like a lot of other people did,” Grindstaff recalled. “They got it done in the nick of time.”

He was proud to have served with the council that approved the new water plan with Abilene and Lake Fort Phantom.

Grindstaff comes from a family of attorneys. His dad, E. C. “Judge” Grindstaff, was county judge in Runnels County, and district attorney in San Angelo and Ballinger for over 30 years.

Father and son practiced together as partners during all of those years. In addition, Grindstaff’s two great uncles, Lige Grindstaff, who practiced in Weatherford, and Henry Grindstaff, who practiced in Rotan and Haskell, who both had distinguished careers.

Grindstaff would later open an office in Winters, where he partnered with Ken Slimp, the current county attorney for Runnels County and Don Reese. He and Slimp would remain partners through the 1990s.

In addition to his law practice, which has been mainly in the fields of oil and gas, real estate, and probate and trust, he is also very active in community affairs in Ballinger. He has served as president of the chamber of commerce and past chairman of the Upper Colorado River Authority. He was even elected as citizen of the year on two separate occasions.

Grindstaff is a licensed fellow of the Texas Bar Association, a life member counselor of the Baylor Law School, and was distinguished by being elected as one of the 15 directors of the State Bar of Texas, where he served for three years (1971-74).

While serving there, Grindstaff convinced the group to hold a seminar in Runnels County.

“We were always having these seminars in the big cities and I suggested they have one at Lowake (Steak House),” Grindstaff remembered. “I told them that I could guarantee lawyers from all over West Texas would come to that meeting because they had an airplane landing strip out there at the time.”

Sure enough, what would come to be known as the Cotton Patch Conference, would bring 255 lawyers to the tables at the Lowake Steak House.

“We showed them that we would show up for a meeting,” Grindstaff quipped.

In 2015, Grindstaff was honored by the Texas City Attorneys Association which is under the Texas Municipal League. He spoke at the annual conference held at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, in Bastrop where he did a presentation on attorney ethics in front of 300 attendees. At the end of his presentation, he received a standing ovation. In 2007, he was honored by TCAA for 50 years of service.

Scott Houston of the TCAA said Grindstaff is most likely the longest serving city attorney in the history of the state of Texas.

“He is an outstanding man of the old school,” Houston said. “A true gentleman is getting more rare these days.”

Grindstaff is a 1948 graduate of Ballinger High School, where he played football and was involved in many activities. He and his wife Jeannette “Jay” met at Baylor University, were married, and have lived in Ballinger since 1956 (after having served two years in the Counterintelligence Corp of the U. S. Army in Japan). They have two children: Jeff Grindstaff and his wife, Elizabeth, and Michelle Moussa and her husband, Mark. They also have four grandchildren: Tanner Moussa, Mackenzie Moussa, Will Grindstaff, and Kate Grindstaff.

His most active service outside of the legal field was as director and president of Lions Clubs International, the largest service organization in the world.

One of the his favorite projects was the Texas Lions League for Crippled Children, but as president he also had the opportunity to initiate several programs internationally, including the Drug Education, Diabetes Awareness, and Journey For Sight programs. Interestingly, his Lions Club service also afforded him the opportunity to meet and confer with President Sadat of Egypt, Prime Minister Begin of Jerusalem, Presidents Carter and Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and various other dignitaries of other countries. In addition, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Diabetes Association in 1984, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation 1983 Humanitarian award, for his work in helping diabetics worldwide. Grindstaff’s travels and life goals are chronicled in a book entitled “Lion Crossing the Sinai.”

Grindstaff has also been active in the First Baptist Church of Ballinger as a teacher, Sunday school superintendent, and deacon.

William P. Chesser, who has served as city attorney for Brownwood, Albany, Coleman and Gorman, was selected by the city council to replace Grindstaff.