October 7, 2014

William Neff Patman

   William Patman was born March 26, 1927 in Texarkana, Texas. He attended public schools there and in Washington, D.C., where his father was a Congressman on the House Banking Committee. He subsequently attended the Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, graduating in 1944. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a private first class from 1945 to 1946. He was a diplomatic courier for the United States Foreign Service from 1949 to 1950, then subsequently served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a captain from 1953 to 1966. After Patman graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1953, he was admitted to the Texas bar and served as a legal examiner for the Texas Railroad Commission until 1955. In 1955, Patman commenced the private practice of law as well as acting as the city attorney for Ganado, Texas from 1955 to 1960.

   In 1960, Patman successfully sought the now District 18 seat in the Texas State Senate. He took office the following year and served until 1981, also working as a delegate to state Democratic Party conventions during his senatorial tenure. In 1980, he was elected to the District 14 seat in the United States House of Representatives, when the short-term incumbent Joseph P. Wyatt did not seek reelection. Patman was re-elected in 1982, when U.S. Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen led the entire Democratic ticket to its last ever full sweep of Texas statewide offices. In 1984, however, Patman was unseated by Republican Mac Sweeney of Wharton, when Ronald W. Reagan swept Texas in his presidential reelection bid. After his defeat, he did not seek further office and retired to his ranch in Ganado, where he spent his last years. Patman died December 9, 2008 of stomach cancer at the age of eighty-one at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

30° 15.930, -097° 43.601

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

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