Bean, Woodrow Wilson, Sr. (1917–1985)

By: Ryan Britton

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Woodrow Wilson (Woody) Bean, lawyer, judge, and state representative, was born on a ranch near Esperanza, Texas, on August 28, 1917, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Bean and the fifth cousin of Judge Roy Bean. After being orphaned at the age of two, he lived in a Masonic orphanage for the next eleven years. During the late 1930s he attended Texas A&M for a year before transferring to Southern Methodist University for three years, where he majored in government. In 1940, Bean was elected to the Texas House as a representative from El Paso. The next year, he left the legislator to join the marines and fight in World War II. He left as a private, but came back from the war as a first lieutenant in 1946. He was reelected to the House in 1947 and 1948, before returning to the military in 1950 for service in the Korean War. He then went on to earn his law degree from the University of Texas, and was admitted to the Texas bar in 1953. Bean was elected El Paso County Democratic party chairman in 1954, and was reelected to that position in 1956. In 1958 he was elected El Paso county judge. In 1962 Bean was convicted of five counts of failure to file his income tax returns, from 1956 through 1960. He received a five-year suspended prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. He was elected chairman of the El Paso Housing Authority in 1972, and in 1974 won election to the State Board of Education. He is known for helping to make the Sun Bowl and the Trans Mountain Road in El Paso a reality, and for building housing for the poor. He was a liberal Democrat and a Methodist turned Roman Catholic. He married Fay McAdoo, but the couple were divorced in the 1960s. Bean married and was divorced again, and finally married Theresa Lama Webber. He had two children with his first wife. Bean died of lung cancer on July 14, 1985, and is buried at St. Mary's Catholic Church in El Paso.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ryan Britton, “Bean, Woodrow Wilson, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995