Visit The University of Texas homepage

Ruby Kless Sondock (b. 1926)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1982

Born April 26, 1926 in Houston, Texas, Ruby Kless Sondock attended Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri for two years before marrying and having a family. Sondock entered the University of Houston Law Center with the goal of becoming "the best legal secretary in town," but ended up graduating as valedictorian of the 1962 law class. She was admitted to the Texas bar the year before her graduation from law school. Following law school, Sondock practiced law for seven years. Gov. Preston Smith appointed her judge of Harris County Domestic Relations Court No. 5 in 1973, making her the first woman in Harris County to hold a district level judgeship. She held the position for four years until Gov. Dolph Briscoe appointed her in 1977 to the 234th District Court; she became the first woman to hold that distinction in Harris County.

Sondock was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by Gov. William P. Clements following the death of associate justice James G. Denton, who died of a heart attack on June 10, 1982. When the fifty-six year old Sondock was sworn in on June 25, she became the first woman justice on the court since 1925, when a special all-woman court served briefly to hear a single case involving the Woodmen of the World. Sondock completed Denton 's term, which ended December 31, 1982, and did not seek election. Instead she returned to the 234th District Court, to which she won reelection without opposition the following November.

Following her judicial service, Sondock began working as a private mediator in Houston. Her alma mater, the University of Houston Law Center, hosts a biennial lecture series in her name, "The Ruby Kless Sondock Lecture in Legal Ethics."


Bill Cryer. First woman chosen for Texas high court, Austin American-Statesman, June 18, 1982.

Mike Emery. Judge remains modest despite successful career, University of Houston Campus News, November 12, 2003.

Tom Moran and Glenn Smith. New Texas Supreme Court justice credits her appointment to 'incredible strangers', Houston Chronicle, June 20, 1982.

New state district judges sworn in, Houston Chronicle, April 1, 1977.

Ira Perry. Politicizing of judiciary criticized, The Houston Post, November 13, 1982.

Bill Pugsley. Private communication, November 20, 2006.

Jay Rosser. Woman named for high court seat in Texas, Corpus Christi Caller, June 18, 1982.

Ruby Sondock. Private communication, December 13, 2006.

Two women judge nominees known for love of the law, Houston Chronicle, March 6, 1977.

Woman Named To Texas Supreme Court, Texas Bar Journal 1156, September 1982.