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‘Jolley’ good: Man finds higher calling

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Lawyer JolleyLawyer JolleyBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – Lawyer C. Jolley was born in Crockett, Texas. Because his parents divorced when he was five, Lawyer and his siblings were raised by their grandparents, who made their living as sharecroppers and truck farmers. Of the experience, Lawyer relates, “We never really knew we were poor because there was always food on the table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and a household full of love.” And like many children raised on a farm, Lawyer was expected to do his share of chores around the house and in the barnyard, which meant shoveling hay to the livestock, slopping the hogs, gathering eggs, and feeding the chickens. Early on, he learned the value of hard work to succeed. Daily prayer, bible study, and church attendance were also a vital part of his growing up. Lawyer’s grandparents were devout believers who impressed him with the importance of a relationship with God and how that would define every other relationship. They also instilled the value of other people, no matter their color, creed, sex, or socioeconomic status. This lesson served him through every aspect of his life. 

Education was important to the Jolley family. Lawyer’s grandmother, being a strict disciplinarian, set, in his words, “remarkably high standards of performance for him and his siblings.” As a result, Lawyer was expected to achieve exceedingly high levels of academic performance. And he did. He became the first in his immediate family to obtain a college degree. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Prairie View A&M University and later a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from Texas A&M University, graduating with honors from both institutions. 

 After graduation, Lawyer went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company and progressed through the company from first-line supervision to several mid-level manager positions.  In 1995, he became the first African American to be promoted to a Plant Manager position. Lawyer continued to rise in the Company ranks, with promotion after promotion, always maintaining a high level of confidence with upper management. In each of his assignments, he was the first African American in Chevron Phillips to hold those positions, opening the door for more African Americans to follow. Some of them he mentored and are now high-level executives themselves. In 2007, Lawyer became General Manager and President of Chevron Phillips Performance Pipe Division with some 650 employees in nine different locations throughout the United States.  He retired as the Worldwide Conduct of Operations Manager for all of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company L.P.

It was never Lawyer’s intent to choose Crockett as his retirement location. But to paraphrase the Scripture, “our plans are not always God’s plans.” The Jolley family still owned property in the area, and Lawyer had returned off and on his whole life to visit family and friends. And he never lost his love for the place where he grew up - the fishing, the hunting, and just nature in general. As luck, or some might say “divine intervention,” would have it, none of the properties he and his wife considered for retirement met their criteria. Crockett, it turns out, was ideally situated between Dallas, Houston, and Austin, where their children and grandchildren reside. So from a destination standpoint, it was perfect.

Then there was that divine intervention thing again.

Lawyer served multiple positions in the church throughout his life - from teacher to convention leader, from Sunday School director to secretary, from treasurer to deacon, from youth director to singing in the choir. He firmly believes that the skills and gifts that God gave him to accomplish his career goals at Chevron Phillips were now intended to further the kingdom of God. Although it wasn’t easy for him to leave the industry he’d been a part of for so long, his trust in God convinced Lawyer to begin a new chapter in his life. In 2020, he was ordained as a minister at First Baptist Church in Pearland and is now enrolled in B.H. Carroll Theological Institute pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. 

As for what the future holds, Lawyer again is trusting in God to reveal the right path. Currently, he leads a small weekly Bible Study group on Tuesday evenings, which he hopes will continue to grow in membership and diversity. But he is also considering establishing a fully multi-cultural church in the area or assisting a church with the aspiration of becoming one. Inclusion is a concept that Lawyer is acquainted with, having experienced exclusion first-hand as the only African American in boardrooms across corporate America. Empathetic to the plight, Lawyer has used his own experience as a motivation to do all he can to make sure no one else endures the same. 

In the meantime, Lawyer enjoys operating his small ranch, visiting with the grandkids,  taking part in civic and community activities, and just spending time in the outdoors getting back to his roots. Regarding his life’s journey so far, Lawyer stated, “You will never find me crediting brilliance or any other human attributes for my success, for it is undeniable that God’s hand has always been on my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful!”

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Edna · 9 months ago
    What a beautiful life you have lived up until this point: may God’s favor continue on your life.🙏🏽
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Glenda Chester · 9 months ago
    Lawyer, this is an excellent article.  I am so thankful God made our paths cross.  My life has been blessed by working and knowing you and Althea.  May God continue to bless your journey.  Proud to call you my friend.
    Glenda Chester.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charlie Davis · 9 months ago
    Congratulations Lawyer. Thank you for following God’s calling for your life. You will make some church a good preacher but also a great pastor.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anita Dickson Shelton · 9 months ago
    Hello From Anita and Congratulations I’m not surprised to see my former plant manager climber to a higher elevation I know God will bless you!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frieda Allen · 9 months ago
    Congratulations on yet another amazing life choice. 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cecelia Alfred · 9 months ago
    Congratulations Lawyer on becoming an ordained minister. Such a beautiful story for an amazing person and I'm so happy that we were coworkers at CPC!  Best wishes to you and your family in your new and awesome calling! 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brenda Raney · 9 months ago
    Happy to call you and your sweet wife my friend. Love you both. ❤️🙏🏻
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gary Snowden · 9 months ago
    Congratulations Lawyer! ! I’m very proud to call you friend and brother in Christ. 
    May God continue to bless your ever endeavor.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Douglas Bielefeldt · 9 months ago
    That's an amazing story..and it's proof you can do and accomplish anything you desire...through Jesus.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Laseda Dickson · 9 months ago
    Happy too call he and his wife my good friends. Congratulations God is good. Prayers for you in your new season.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vicki Bush Bredemeier · 9 months ago
    One of the best families God had graced this earth with.  I am so proud to know this sweet family.  Happy for you guys!  Congratulations on your retirement and future plans.  Crockett is blessed to have your family back as residents ❤️🙏🏻🤗
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cami Smith Gorsky · 9 months ago
    Welcome back to Crockett, you will be a blessing! I know you will touch lives! I’m in Plano where I’ve been since graduating RN School. But there is always a pull of my heart to the Piney Woods. Good Luck
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Angi · 9 months ago
    Wonderful man with such a wonderful heart! 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Holly · 9 months ago
    This is one of the very best man on the planet!!!  Love him and his sweet Althia!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joycelyn Benton Alexander · 9 months ago
    Hello cousin, Never knew where u were. I am sister, Ester Lee Benton daughter. So proud of ur many accomplishments. Yes and to God b the Glory 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sheria McKnight · 9 months ago
    Praying for God’s continued guidance in your life🙏🏾🙏🏾. I remember you and your wife well, her mother ( Sister) as well. Welcome back home🥰🥰
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DC Taylor · 9 months ago
    Way to go Brother Jolley. We will have to come for a visit.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chevolette Denman · 9 months ago
    Congratulations 🎉 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    EVA GRIFFIN · 9 months ago
    CONGRATULATIONS YOU IS MARRIED TOO MY COUSIN I REMEMBER YOU FROM SHOOL MY MADEN NAME WAS EVA WATSON NOW EVA GRIFFIN 41YRS MARRIED.