Bivinses — mother and son — to be rebroadcast

The Bivins family conjures many memories of Texas Panhandle residents.

They were pioneers, ranchers, philanthropists, civic-minded public servants and an elected official. Two members of this famous family have spent time in front of PanhandlePBS cameras. And on Sunday, their interviews will be rebroadcast on public television.

It’ll be an interesting look back at two influential Panhandle icons.

Face to Face, hosted by Ellen Robertson Green, will be shown at 3 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The first segment will feature an interview with the late Teel Bivins, the former state senator from Amarillo who went on in 2004 to become the U.S. ambassador to Sweden, a post he held for roughly 19 months before ill health forced him to resign.

I have many fond memories of Bivins, starting with my first meeting with him in 1995 after I arrived in Amarillo to become editorial page editor of the Amarillo Daily News and Globe-Times. He was candid, forthcoming and brutally honest about some personal issues affecting him and his family. We forged a constructive working relationship and, after he left public life, a personal friendship that culminated in a farewell visit at his home just three weeks before his death in 2009.

I didn’t know his mother, Betty Bivins Lovell, nearly as well. She, too, was a player in the community. She oversaw the Bivins Foundation and worked tirelessly to make the community a better place. She was the matriarch of a family devoted to public service.

The Teel Bivins interview will air at 3 p.m. Sunday; the Betty Bivins Lovell interview will air at 3:30 p.m.

I’m looking forward to seeing these two towering presences once again.


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