LUBBOCK, Texas — On Saturday, 72nd District Judge Ruben Reyes passed away due to COVID-19 complications. Judge Reyes was a beloved member and leader of the Lubbock community, most notable known for his work with the county’s drug court. On Sunday, friends and colleagues spoke with us, reflecting on the hard-working man that Reyes was.
“He was a workhorse he’d be there early, stay late up there every Saturday morning, seeing people doing what needed to be done,” said lawyer, long time friend and colleague of Reyes, David Guinn.
Reyes was known to be a hard-working man, dedicating his time to the community and helping people in it.
“He was humble. He was always interested in other people. He was always courteous,” said Kevin Glasheen, another colleague of Reyes.
Friends referred to Reyes as the epitome of the American Dream. He broke many barriers, being a first generation student and eventually moving on to be one of the first Hispanic district judges ever elected in Lubbock. He served as the district judge for 14 years.
However, before getting there, his life started in rural Texas, with dedicated, hard-working parents to look up to.
“His parents, neither of them had a high school education. They had been farm laborers up near Hart Camp,” said Guinn.
His family eventually moved to Lubbock, where Reyes attended Dunbar High School and graduated as valedictorian in 1983. From there Reyes went on to Yale University and eventually Baylor Law School. It was there he met David Guinn, who he worked with later on at Hurley and Sowder Law Firm.
“He wanted to do real law for real people,” said Guinn. “Ruben would feel their hurt and care and they leave and sometimes he’d have to sit back, just think about them, he’s really genuine.”
Despite going to school out of town, Reyes always wanted to make it back to Lubbock and serve his own people – which he most notably did while working on the Lubbock County Drug Court.
“He knew that the folks who had drug problems needed more than just being incarcerated. And the whole idea of the drug court and what he would do was to develop a personal relationship with those people to hold them accountable,” said Glasheen. “He essentially became, in his mind the family for those people that they would have to answer to and that’s how he tried to approach his work.”
Outside of work, Reyes was also dedicated to his own family as a loving husband and father. He would coach baseball games and volunteer at his church. After losing his battle with COVID-19, his friends wish for all to honor him in their daily lives and actions.
“It’s just up to each one of us every day to go try and make everybody else’s world a little bit better. Whether it’s a kind eye or courtesy or something big,” said Guinn. “If we’d all be diligent about being good to each other every day. I think that’d be a little bit of a reflection of Ruben.”