BEAUFORD HALBERT JESTER was born in Corsicana, Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas, he began law school at Harvard but his education was interrupted by service as an Army Captain from 1917 to 1918. He went on to complete his law degree at the University of Texas in 1920. He became a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas in 1929, and was the youngest person to chair the Board. He was also Director of the Texas State Bar from 1940 to 1941, and a member of the Texas Railroad Commission from 1942 to 1947. During his gubernatorial administration, the state’s penal system was reformed, public education was reorganized, appropriations for the state’s health institutions and for education were increased, and the Board of Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools was created. Jester won reelection in 1948 but died the following year while traveling to Galveston. He was the first Texas governor to die in office. He was buried in Corsicana.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, C: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.