Teel Bivins

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Miles Teel Bivins
M. Teel Bivins, US Dept of State photo portrait.jpg
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 31st district
In office
Preceded by Bill Sarpalius
Succeeded by Kel Seliger
18th United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden
In office
May 25, 2004 – January 31, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Charles A. Heimbold, Jr.
Succeeded by Michael M. Wood
Personal details
Born (1947-11-22)November 22, 1947
Amarillo, Potter County, Texas, USA
Died October 26, 2009(2009-10-26) (aged 61)
Amarillo, Texas
Political party Republican

Divorced from: (1) Cornelia Ritchie Wadsworth Bivins

(2) Tricia Hamilton Bivins, later married to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

Andrew Montgomery Bivins
Katherine Teel Bivins
William Terrill Bivins

Carolyn Hamilton Bivins
Alma mater

Tulane University

Southern Methodist University
Profession Attorney; Rancher; Businessman
Religion Episcopalian

Miles Teel Bivins (November 22, 1947 – October 26, 2009)[1] was from 2004 to 2006 the United States ambassador to Sweden. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 21, 2004, and sworn in at Washington D.C., on May 26. He presented his credentials to King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm on June 9. He left the position early after having been stricken with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a fatal condition.[2]

State senate service[edit]

Bivins served as a Republican member of the Texas State Senate from 1989 to 2004 from Senate District 31, based about Amarillo. He was first elected in 1988, when the incumbent Democratic state senator, Bill Sarpalius, was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Thereafter, Bivins did not face an opponent in a general election. Bivins chaired the Senate Finance Committee, the Education Committee, the Nominations Committee and the Agricultural Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee. In addition, he co-chaired the Interim Committee on Public School Finance during the 78th session and in 1999 served on the Electric Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee. He worked for tort reform in Texas. Bivins supported measures to increase accountability and spending in public education, to stop social promotions, and to increase financial aid for college students. In 2008, his contributions were recognized by West Texas A&M University in Canyon through the Teel Bivins Chair in Political Science.[2]

In 1999 and 2001, Bivins was recognized as one of the most influential lawmakers by the Dallas Morning News. In 1997 and 2001, Bivins was included among the "Ten Best Legislators" by Texas Monthly magazine. A Dallas blogger described Bivins, along with colleagues David Sibley of Waco and Bill Ratliff of Mt. Pleasant as having formed a particularly effective "triumvirate" in the management of the Senate during the 1990s.[3]

Bivins was also one of the most successful fundraisers during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns for George W. Bush.[2]

Family background[edit]

Bivins was the son of Lee Truscott Bivins (June 2, 1916–July 18, 1972)[4] and Betty Teel Bivins, later Betty Lovell (October 2, 1919–January 16, 2008).[4] Betty and Lee founded the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in 1951 in Amarillo, Texas.[5] Lee drowned near Lima, Peru, while swimming with his family in the Pacific Ocean. Bivins graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans and went to law school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In 1976, Bivins and his brother Tom formed a partnership, Bivins Brothers. In 1978, Bivins, along with his two brothers, Mark and Tom, Dale Smith, and Jay O’Brien, formed a partnership, Corsino Cattle Company, still in existence. He was also involved in petroleum and natural gas exploration.[2]

Teel Bivins had extensive ranch holdings in the Texas Panhandle. In 1990, he introduced a Senate resolution honoring the memory of Tom Blasingame, the oldest cowboy in the history of the American West. Blasingame taught Bivins, as a youth, how to handle livestock. Teel Bivins's paternal grandfather, also named Lee Bivins, was the mayor of Amarillo from 1925 until his death in office in 1929.

Bivins's first wife, Cornelia "Ninia" Ritchie, grew up on the 900,000-acre (3,600 km2) JA Ranch southeast of Amarillo. Clarence Hailey Long, the original inspiration of the Marlboro Man advertising campaign, was a foreman at the JA, when he was featured in 1949 in Life Magazine photographs about the American West. Long married Cornelia's nanny, Ellen Theresa Rogers. In 2005, Bivins' son, Andrew Montgomery Bivins (born 1979), joined the management team of the JA as the fifth generation heir. Andrew is the grandson of Montgomery Harrison Wadsworth Ritchie, Cornelia's father, who managed the JA from 1935 until his retirement in 1993.

Bivins was an avid outdoorsman, a skier and fisherman, who also annually visited the 4UR Ranch in Creede, Colorado. Bivins's second wife, from whom he was also divorced, is Tricia Hamilton Bivins, who subsequently in 2009 married Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.[6]

After a private interment, a public memorial service was held on October 29, 2009 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Amarillo. Bivins was survived by his brothers, Mark Bivins and Tom Bivins, both of Amarillo, and their wives; his children, Andrew Bivins and wife, Wendy Ryan Bivins of Clarendon; Katherine Teel Bivins of Amarillo; William Terrill Bivins of Amarillo and Carolyn Hamilton Bivins of Houston, and his grandson, Nolan Montgomery Bivins. A third brother, Levi Bivins, preceded him in death.[2]

Election history[edit]

Election history of Bivins from 1992.[7]

Most recent election[edit]


Texas general election, 2002: Senate District 31[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Teel Bivins (Incumbent) 118,938 100.00 0.00
Majority 118,938 100.00 0.00
Turnout 118,938 +21.16
Republican hold

Previous elections[edit]


Texas general election, 1998: Senate District 31[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Teel Bivins (Incumbent) 98,165 100.00 0.00
Majority 98,165 100.00 0.00
Turnout 98,165 -15.34
Republican hold


Texas general election, 1994: Senate District 31[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Teel Bivins (Incumbent) 115,951 100.00 0.00
Majority 115,951 100.00 0.00
Turnout 115,951 -16.76
Republican hold


Texas general election, 1992: Senate District 31[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Teel Bivins (Incumbent) 139,302 100.00
Majority 139,302 100.00
Turnout 139,302
Republican hold


  1. ^ "Ex-state senator and ambassador to Sweden dies", Dallas Morning News,October 26, 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e "Teel Bivins Services Held Today in Amarillo". Texas Insider. October 29, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  3. ^ "David Sibley's unthinkable loss, June 23, 2010". dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Betty Bivins remembered". amarillo.com. Retrieved January 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Lt. Gov. Dewhurst plans to wed Houston lawyer Bivins, February 27, 2009". chron.com. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Uncontested primary elections are not shown.
  8. ^ "2002 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  9. ^ "1998 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  10. ^ "1994 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  11. ^ "1992 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-05. 


Texas Senate
Preceded by
Bill Sarpalius
Texas State Senator
from District 31 (Amarillo)

Succeeded by
Kel Seliger
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles A. Heimbold, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Sweden
2004 - 2006
Succeeded by
Michael M. Wood