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John David Coulter ’92

April 22, 2022, in Little Rock, Arkansas, from lung cancer.

John grew up in Nashville, Arkansas, where his father owned a furniture store and his mother taught school. After high school, he worked for Senator Dale Bumpers in Washington, D.C.; spent time in Florence, Italy; and traveled through the United States. After a thorough college search, John chose Reed, where he wrote his thesis, “Political Disfranchisement in the Post-Reconstruction Southern United States,” advised by Prof. Edward Segel [history 1973–2011].

After briefly attending theological seminary at the University of Chicago, John decided to become a lawyer. He graduated with honors from Boston College Law School and returned to Arkansas to clerk for U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. He became a partner at the Rose Law Firm, with stops at Kutak Rock and James, Carter, and Coulter, before becoming a partner at McMath Woods, where he continued to practice until 2021. A strong advocate for a wide range of civil rights, John was dedicated to protecting the rights of his clients. He received many honors and awards during both his career and years of volunteer service, including Super Lawyers, a designation only awarded to a select number of attorneys in each state. He was elected as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and was honored by the Volunteers of Central Arkansas Legal Services as the Pulaski County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.

John served on many boards and committees at First United Methodist Church, where he was a long-time member; and, from 2008 to 2012, he served as pro bono counsel to the Central Arkansas District of the United Methodist Church. A dedicated volunteer with the Little Rock School District, John never missed an opportunity to read to a roomful of students or to pitch in where needed.

He is survived by his wife, Laura Lecky Coulter; their son, Jonathan Webb Coulter; brothers Donald Nathan Coulter II and Robert Killian Coulter; stepmother, BG Coulter; and stepsisters Candy Swenke and Tracy Van Y.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2022

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