Nelson Wolff

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Nelson Wolff
Judge Nelson Wolff.jpg
Bexar County Judge
Assumed office
Preceded byCyndi Taylor Krier
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
June 1, 1991 – June 1, 1995
Preceded byLila Cockrell
Succeeded byBill Thornton
San Antonio City Council
In office
Constituency8th District
Member of the Texas Senate from the 26th district
In office
Texas House of Representatives from Bexar County, Texas
In office
Personal details
Born (1940-10-27) October 27, 1940 (age 79)[1]
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Melinda Wolff (1961-1988)[2]
Tracy Hoag (1989-present)[3]
Lyn Marie
ResidenceSan Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
Alma materSt. Mary's University
St. Mary's University School of Law
OccupationLawyer and county judge

Nelson William Wolff (born 27 October 1940) is a Democratic politician from San Antonio, Texas. He represented Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives from 1971 to 1973 and then the Texas Senate from 1973 to 1975. He served on the San Antonio City Council as the representative of District 8 and then as mayor of San Antonio from 1991[4] to 1995 and has been since 2001 the Bexar County Judge.

Wolff was initially appointed to this current position in 2001 to succeed Cyndi Taylor Krier, a Republican, who resigned to accept an appointment from then Governor Rick Perry as a regent of the University of Texas System. Wolff has since been elected to this position three times. In January 2012, he announced that he would seek a fourth full term in 2014.[5] He defeated in the general election the Republican candidate, Carlton L. Soules, a former member of the San Antonio City Council from the North Side. Known as a "budget hawk" while on the council, Soules since entered into an alliance with the unsuccessful 2017 San Antonio mayoral candidate Manuel Medina, the chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party organization. The two had opposed a defunct a downtown street car project, which they considered a "boondoggle."[6]

Wolff won re-election as county judge in the general election held on November 6, 2018. He defeated the Republican nominee, Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff.


Wolff is only the second person to serve as both San Antonio mayor and county judge of Bexar County. (The first was Bryan Callaghan, Jr., who became mayor in 1885 and county judge in 1892.)[7]

Since 1989, Wolff has been married to his second spouse, the former Tracy Hoag. He has four children from the first marriage to Melinda Wolf: Kevin Alan, Lyn Marie, Scott, and Matthew. He has two stepchildren through the second marriage. His oldest son from his first marriage, Kevin Wolff(born c. 1965), a Republican, serves with his father on the Bexar County Commissioners' Court as the Precinct 3 commissioner. The two disagreed over a downtown streetcar plan favored by the father and adamantly opposed by the son. They agreed on a proposal to build a rail system with the use of eighteen miles of existing Union Pacific track from downtown San Antonio to Leon Springs.[8]

Wolff is working with the commissioners court to restore the former Hot Wells hotel, spa, and bathhouses, which flourished in the first two decades of the 20th century, along the San Antonio River in the southside of San Antonio. In October 2015, the commissioners authorized $4 million to begin the partial restoration of the facility, which once attracted celebrities from throughout the nation.[9]

Wolff is interested in baseball, poker, cigars, and is a lifelong reader with an extensive collection of books. With his late father and two brothers, he owned several businesses, most notably Sun Harvest Farms grocery stores and Green Fields Market, a health foods and organic grocery store in San Antonio, which Wolff sold in 2011. He is a graduate of St. Mary's University and St. Mary's University School of Law, both in San Antonio.

Wolff has penned four books. In Challenge of Change, he describes his experience in the Texas legislature and his participation in the 1974 Constitutional Convention, of which he was instrumental in bringing about. In Baseball for Real Men, Wolff reflects on life and his love of the game. Mayor is a memoir of San Antonio politics focusing on his time in City Hall. In Transforming San Antonio (Trinity University Press) Wolff gives an insider's view on signature economic-development projects with which he was involved: the AT&T Center, a Toyota factory, the PGA Village, and the extension of the San Antonio River Walk.

In 2017, Wolff rose to defend his friend Ricardo Romo, who after eighteen years of service resigned as president of the University of Texas at San Antonio amid reports that Romo had inappropriately hugged and embraced women on campus who he greeted. Wolff claims that the University of Texas System mishandled the investigation into Romo's conduct. Wolff said that he too often embraces men and women in the workplace: "It's a tradition in the Hispanic community that you do that. ... It's just a tradition, one [in which] I participate."[10]

The Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, home field of the San Antonio Missions located off U.S. Highway 90 near the intersection with State Highway 151, is named in his honor.


  1. ^ "Nelson W Wolff United States Public Records". Family Search. United States Public Records, 1970-2009. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Texas Divorce Index". Family Search. Texas Department of State Health Services. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Texas Marriages, 1966-2010". Family Search. Texas Department of State Health Services.
  4. ^ San Antonio picks Wolff
  5. ^ San Antonio Express-News, January 17, 2012. Gonzalez, John W. "Wolff to seek re-election as county judge in 2014" [1]
  6. ^ Gilbert Garcia, "Medina, Soules forge unlikely bromance", San Antonio Express-News, February 24, 2017, p. A2.
  7. ^ Wolff, Nelson W. Transforming San Antonio: An Insiders View of the AT&T Center, Toyota, the PGA Village, and the River Walk Extension., Trinity University Press, 2008
  8. ^ Gilbert Garcia, "Two Wolffs agree on new/old UP rail plan," San Antonio Express-News, January 8, 2016, p. A2
  9. ^ John W. Gonzalez, "Hot Wells poised to spring alive again: County OKs first phase of improvements for new park", San Antonio Express-News, October 10, 2015, pp. 1, A12
  10. ^ Lauren Caruba and Silvia Foster-Frau, "Romo steps down as UTSA president: Leader had been under investigation", San Antonio Express-News, March 4, 2017, pp. 1, A14.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lila Cockrell
Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
Succeeded by
Bill Thornton
Preceded by
Glenn Kothmann
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 57-8 (San Antonio)

Succeeded by
Inactive district
Preceded by
Joe J. Bernal
Texas State Senator
from District 26 (San Antonio)

Succeeded by
Frank Lombardino
Preceded by
Cyndi Taylor Krier
Bexar County Judge
Succeeded by