Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tribute to Latifa Ring by Jeff Prince, Reporter for Fort Worth Weekly

Latifa Ring, a Houston woman who advocated for elderly citizens swept up in guardianship cases, has died after a lengthy illness. She was 59.

“She had more love in one little finger than some people have in their whole bodies,” said Dorothy Luck, a Fort Worth woman who, with Ring’s help, was able to battle herself out of guardianship case that had been thrust upon her by a Tarrant County probate court judge.

Ring became a guardianship activist after discovering that some probate judges in Texas and across the country abuse their powers to take over the lives of elderly people. Once under guardianship, clients are essentially powerless to do anything as attorneys, counselors, bankers, and others starting emptying their bank accounts.

Ring spent many hours looking into Luck’s problems, making countless phone calls and even driving from Houston to Fort Worth for visits. She also flew to Washington D.C. on her own dime to advocate. Luck still isn’t sure how Ring heard about her case.

“All of a sudden, like an angel, she was here,” Luck said. “She was championing [her cause] and trying to help everybody. She deserves a lot.”

Ring had read some of my previous stories and called one day to ask me to write about Luck. I was swamped with work and had already published several guardianship stories and wasn’t looking to do another anytime soon.

“We’re the Fort Worth Weekly, not the Guardianship Weekly,” I recall telling her.

Ring wouldn’t let me off the hook that easily. She kept calling, feeding me bits of information, trying to hook me. She never demanded anything, never got angry at me. She was smart, devoted to her cause, persistent, and easy to talk to. Eventually I could no longer refuse her.

I’m glad she stayed on me.

After the story on Luck was published, a probate judge removed the guardianship.

Ring mentioned her illness back then, but briefly. I’m not even sure what ailment she suffered from. She rarely discussed her problems, only those of Luck and others that she was trying to help. Ring spent most of her life helping others. She grew up in an orphanage in Morocco. Because she was older than most of the other children, she served as a de-facto caretaker.

It’s a role she never relinquished.

Family and friends will celebrate her life at 2 p.m. Saturday at Klein Funeral Home Chapel, 9719 Wortham Blvd., in Houston.

Guardianship Activist Latifa Ring Dead

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