by Larry Lemmons
Amarillo, Texas - Thursday the Bivins family buried Teel Bivins at a private ceremony at Llano cemetery. Afterward they held a public service at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.
About 800 people attended the service, including Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, state lawmakers, and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
His fourteen years at the legislature were productive, affecting the city directly. Potter County Judge Arthur Ware, who attended St. Andrews elementary school two years behind Bivins says, "We acquired the Santa Fe Building. We got a 3-million dollar grant and he was very instrumental in making that happen."
But Bivins' passion was education. He believed an education was a right for all, rich and poor. State Representative John Smithee says, "There were some real problems with the poorer districts here in the state, the property poor districts who simply weren't being able to provide an adequate education for their children. And so, he was a leader. Teel was a leader in that effort to try to at least bring all the school children of Texas up to a level where they could get an adequate, hopefully a quality education."
And Bivins was practical, not ideological. AISD Superintendent Rod Schroder says, "School finance is a very complex set of formulas and you change one thing it has an effect upon the other. I think Senator Bivins understood it. He had enough foresight and gumption to think about what's best for Texas and not necessarily what's best for the party."
Bivins old friend Karl Rove spoke at the service, an indication that despite Bivins impact locally, his influence was felt far from home. Rove called him "a modern man of old-fashioned character.