Judith L. Maute, age 69, passed away on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Saint Anna's, a caring and loving nursing home within Lambeth House in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was recently relocated to be closer to her only child, Paige Elizabeth Maute Cooke.
She was born in Evanston, Illinois to Marjorie P. Maute, and John H. Maute, the second of three children. Judith grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois; she attended Maine East High School during the same time as Hillary Clinton. She went on to become a Religious Studies major at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and eventually earned her LL.M. from Yale Law School.
In 1982, she began her career as a law school professor at University of Oklahoma, which would span over three decades. She earned her reputation as a well-loved, revered, and sometimes feared character among faculty. She was as charismatic as she was complicated, and as former student Paul Austin sited in a recent tribute, "she was hard to like, and easy to love."
Professor Maute was revered as a pioneer in the arena of legal archeology through her extensive work on the Peeveyhouse Case-an iconic case in understanding contracts and damages, often taught on the first days of law school. She dug deep, relentlessly researching the land use contractual conundrum Mr. and Mrs. Peeveyhouse of Stigler, Oklahoma faced against Garland Coal Company, who had ruined their farmland after the end of their 5-year strip mining contract was over. In 2008, she released a documentary film "Ballad of Willie and Lucille" to help tell the Peeveyhouse's story to law school students. "Her work continues to be referenced and cited--she was a scholar; her work mattered." - Katheleen Guzman, Dean of the University of Oklahoma Law School.
Douglas Baird, an esteemed Law School Professor at the University of Chicago credits her work on the quintessential case to helping those embarking on the legal profession find profound understanding of fundamental, complex subject matter, "Through her research, she helped recalibrate and set everyone straight about what truly happened with the Peeveyhouse case," he noted.
In addition to her scholarly work, she was a tenacious advocate for justice, providing and leading students in Pro-Bono opportunities. She started the Students for Access to Justice program, matching volunteer law students to those who needed legal help but could not afford it. She organized legions of legal aid provided by OU Law Students to help in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
She had a knack for seeking out the vulnerable in a crowd; she could cut through any barriers with her bright smile and quick wit. She never met a stranger-she could always find something in common with anyone she encountered.
She loved traveling to her second home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she amassed a considerable portion of her extensive collection of Native American art. The only thing she loved more than collecting the artwork of Indigenous peoples, was getting to know the artists whose work captivated her imagination.
She leaves behind her heartbroken daughter best known as Liz; Liz's husband, Andrew Cooke; Liz's father, Gray Strickland; and her beloved poodle, Cooper. Although Judith looked forward to becoming a grandmother, her life was cut too short. She is preceded in death by her parents, and survived by her sister, Sandy Maute Teach and her brother, John Maute III.
The family will receive friends from 4:00-8:00 pm on Friday, July 19, 2019, and from 11:00 am-3:00 pm on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Norman.