About Miles Teel Bivins
Miles Teel Bivins (November 22, 1947–October 26, 2009) served as United States ambassador to Sweden between 2004 and 2006. He was confirmed by the U.S. 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 being stricken with progressive supranuclear palsy, a fatal condition.
State senate service
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.
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.
Bivins was also one of the most successful fundraisers during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns for George W. Bush.
Bivins was the son of Lee Truscott Bivins (June 2, 1916–July 18, 1972) and Betty Teel Bivins, later Betty Lovell (October 2, 1919–January 16, 2008). Betty and Lee founded the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in 1951 in Amarillo, Texas. 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.
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, 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 skiier 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.
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 Amarillo; 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.