Former governor Alan Shivers dies

January 14th, 1985

On this day in 1985, former Texas governor Allan Shivers died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Robert Allan Shivers was born in Lufkin in 1907. His political career began at the University of Texas, where he was elected president of the Students' Association. In 1934 he became the youngest person ever elected to the state senate. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945, when he was discharged with the rank of major, having earned five battle stars and the Bronze Star. In 1946 he was elected lieutenant governor; he was reelected two years later. When Governor Beauford H. Jester died in 1949, Shivers assumed the governorship, which he held effectively for the next 7½ years. During his tenure he pushed through significant legislation as well as reforms of state government, but he was probably best known for defending state claims to the Tidelands against the Truman administration. During the last years of his governorship his popularity diminished, due in part to his opposition to Brown v. Board of Education, which legally ended segregation. And even though Shivers was never implicated, his administration became tainted with corruption because of state scandals involving insurance and veterans' lands. After retiring from politics in January 1957, Shivers managed his business interests in the Rio Grande Valley and served on the boards of several banks and on the UT Board of Regents.

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Former governor Alan Shivers dies

January 14th, 1985

On this day in 1985, former Texas governor Allan Shivers died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Robert Allan Shivers was born in Lufkin in 1907. His political career began at the University of Texas, where he was elected president of the Students' Association. In 1934 he became the youngest person ever elected to the state senate. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945, when he was discharged with the rank of major, having earned five battle stars and the Bronze Star. In 1946 he was elected lieutenant governor; he was reelected two years later. When Governor Beauford H. Jester died in 1949, Shivers assumed the governorship, which he held effectively for the next 7½ years. During his tenure he pushed through significant legislation as well as reforms of state government, but he was probably best known for defending state claims to the Tidelands against the Truman administration. During the last years of his governorship his popularity diminished, due in part to his opposition to Brown v. Board of Education, which legally ended segregation. And even though Shivers was never implicated, his administration became tainted with corruption because of state scandals involving insurance and veterans' lands. After retiring from politics in January 1957, Shivers managed his business interests in the Rio Grande Valley and served on the boards of several banks and on the UT Board of Regents.

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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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