Nabers, Joseph Lynn (1940–2010)

By: Gabrielle Esparza

Type: Biography

Published: November 24, 2020

Updated: November 25, 2020

Joseph Lynn Nabers (known as Lynn), Texas legislator for the Democratic party from 1969 to 1983, lawyer, and businessman, was born on March 31, 1940, in Brownwood, Texas, to Joseph Dudley Nabers and Ima Lou (Littlefield) Nabers. Nabers attended Brownwood High School, where he played on the football and basketball teams. He graduated with a bachelor’s of science from Howard Payne University and later received a juris doctorate from Baylor University. He married Mary Frances Scott on October 10, 1959; they had two children. He was admitted to the Texas State Bar in 1967.

Nabers won a seat representing District 64 (Brown, Coleman, Comanche, and Runnels counties) in the Texas House of Representatives in 1969. He won reelection six times, and served in the Sixty-first through Sixty-seventh state legislatures. He represented District 55 (Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, McCulloch, and Runnels counties) in the Sixty-third through Sixty-seventh legislatures. During his tenure, he served on a number of House committees, including the Conservation and Reclamation, Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Revenue and Taxation committees. He chaired the Health and Welfare Committee and the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Nabers helped carry legislation that established the Tuition Equalization Grant Program and a bill that revised the Texas Penal Code. He was also involved with legislation related to property taxes. During most of his time as a legislator, he was also a partner in the law firm of Day, Nabers, Smith in Brownwood.

After fourteen years as a Texas legislator, Nabers joined the Brown McCarroll law firm in Austin as a partner. He left this legal firm in 1992 when his wife, Mary Nabers, joined the Texas Railroad Commission because he worried that his position posed a conflict of interest. From 1992 until his death in 2010, Nabers worked as a sole practitioner. He later served as general counsel for Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Mary Nabers founded this Austin-based consulting and research firm, and Lynn assisted her in its management as senior vice president and general counsel.

In addition to his impressive legal and political careers, Nabers operated a cattle ranch in Brown County and a natural gas business. He also served as an owner and director of the Citizens National Bank in Brownwood for more than thirty years. Nabers and a group of friends purchased the local bank and helped it overcome difficult economic times. Active in civic affairs in Austin, he served on the corporate council of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, was a member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and chaired the Travis County Municipal Utility District No. 6. He was also director of the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission in 1986. In his spare time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing and playing golf.

Over the course of his life, Nabers received many honors. The State Bar of Texas named him a fellow and granted him the Distinguished Service Award. He served on the board of trustees for Howard Payne University, where he was also named a distinguished alumnus and given an honorary doctorate. In 1977 Texas Monthly named Nabers one of the state’s best legislators. He also received honors from the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Youth Commission.

At the age of seventy, Lynn Nabers died from cancer on July 31, 2010, in Austin, Texas. He was survived by his wife Mary, sons Scott and Tim, and six grandchildren. He was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.

“Joseph Lynn Nabers,” Texas State Cemetery (, accessed August 20, 2020. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Lynn Nabers (, accessed August 20, 2020.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • House
  • State Legislators
  • Sixty-fifth Legislature (1977-1978)
  • Sixty-first Legislature (1969)
  • Sixty-fourth Legislature (1975)
  • Sixty-second (1971-1972)
  • Sixty-seventh Legislature (1981-1982)
  • Sixty-sixth Legislature (1979)
  • Sixty-third Legislature (1973)

Time Periods:

  • Texas Post World War II


  • Central Texas

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

Gabrielle Esparza, “Nabers, Joseph Lynn,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 24, 2021,

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November 24, 2020
November 25, 2020