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William Neff "Bill" Patman (March 26, 1927 – December 9, 2008) was an American politician who served from 1981 to 1985 as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas. He was the son of John William Wright Patman, the long-time U.S. Representative who chaired the House Banking Committee and was a self-proclaimed advocate of small business, having co-authored the Robinson-Patman Act.

William Neff Patman
William Neff Patman.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 14th district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1985
Preceded byJoseph P. Wyatt, Jr.
Succeeded byMac Sweeney
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 18th district
In office
January 10, 1961 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byWilliam S. Fly
Succeeded byJohn T. Wilson
Personal details
Born(1927-03-26)March 26, 1927
Texarkana, Texas, U.S.
DiedDecember 9, 2008(2008-12-09) (aged 81)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carrin Mauritz Patman (married ca. 1953 – his death)
ChildrenAt least one daughter
ResidenceGanado, Texas; Austin, Texas
Alma materKemper Military School
University of Texas
OccupationAttorney; Rancher

Patman was born in Texarkana, Texas. He attended public schools there and in Washington, D.C. He then attended the now closed 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 subsequently served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a captain from 1953 to 1966. He was a diplomatic courier for the United States Foreign Service from 1949 to 1950.

Patman graduated in 1953 from the University of Texas at Austin. Later that year 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. He also served as the city attorney for Ganado, Texas from 1955 to 1960.

Political careerEdit

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. He was a delegate to state Democratic Party conventions during this senatorial tenure. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Patman was in the fifteenth vehicle of the motorcade.[1] 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, Jr. (born 1941), a former member of Patman's state senatorial staff, did not seek reelection. Patman was re-elected in 1982, when U.S. Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr., of Houston 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. Though Sweeney was defeated after two terms by a Democrat, the district returned to Republican representation in 1995, with the defection of Representative Greg Laughlin (who defeated Sweeney in 1988) and then the election in 1996 of former Representative Ron Paul, who defeated Laughlin in the Republican primary. After his defeat by Sweeney, Patman did not seek further office and retired to Ganado, located some ninety miles southwest of Houston, where he lived on his ranch called Ganadom.

Patman spent his last years in Ganado and at a second house in Austin. He died of stomach cancer at the age of eighty-one at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.[2] Services were held at the Texas Senate chamber; he is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Patman's father-in-law, Fred Mauritz, was also a Texas state senator, having served from 1940 until his death, also of cancer, in 1947.

U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett of Austin credited Patman with foreseeing the 2008 financial crisis that brought about a $700 billion bailout from Congress: "Much of his legacy — fighting predatory lenders and warning of banks deemed 'too big to fail' — testifies to his foresight."[3]


  1. ^ Presidential Motorcade Schematic Listing, November 22, 1963, Dallas, Texas, by Todd Wayne Vaughn, 2003
  2. ^ Former Congressman and state Sen. Bill Patman dies at 81; Dallas Morning News, December 10, 2008
  3. ^ "Obituary: Patman, former state senator and congressman". Houston Chronicle, December 11, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph P. Wyatt, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mac Sweeney
Political offices
Preceded by
William S. Fly
Texas State Senator from District 18
Succeeded by
John T. Wilson