Bob McFarland

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Millard Robert
"Bob" McFarland​, Jr.

Texas State Senator for
District 10 (Dallas, Denton,
and Tarrant counties)​
In office
1983 – 1991​
Preceded by William C. "Bill" Meier​
Succeeded by Chris Harris

President Pro Tempore
of the Texas Senate
In office
1989​ – 1989​
Preceded by Hugh Quay Parmer​
Succeeded by Robert J. Glasgow​

Texas State Representative
for then Districts 32-B and
32-D (Tarrant County)​
In office
1977​ – 1983​
Succeeded by Roy English​

Born June 12, 1941​
Okaloosa, Iowa
Died July 23, 2014 (aged 73)
Arlington, Texas
Resting place Moore Memorial Gardens in Arlington
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jane Highfill McFarland (married c. 1964-2014, his death)
Children Bobby McFarland (died 2006)

Terry (Ron) BeVellen
Sandra (Tom) Worth​​
Millard, Sr., and Mildred Fern VanBibber McFarland.

Residence Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas​
Alma mater Arlington High School

University of Texas at Arlington
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Not to be confused with Robert McFarlane, the national security advisor under U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan

Millard Robert McFarland, Jr., known as Bob McFarland (June 12, 1941 – July 23, 2014),[1] was an attorney and lobbyist in Arlington[2] and Austin, Texas,[3] who served from 1983 to 1991 as a Republican state senator for District 10, then located in parts parts of Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties. From 1977 to 1983, McFarland served as a state representative for the former districts 32-B and 32-D in Tarrant County.[4]


McFarland was born in Okaloosa in Mahaska County in southeastern Iowa, to Millard McFarland, Sr. (1910-1955), and the former Mildred Fern VanBibber (born 1913), both of whom are interred at St. Marys Cemetery in Newton in Harvey County, Kansas.[1][5] In 1959, McFarland graduated from Arlington High School. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1963 from the University of Texas at Arlington. He then procured his Juris Doctorate from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in University Park, Texas. He was admitted to the bar in 1966.[2] McFarland was cited for achievement in the publication Texas Business. In 1981, he received the G. J. Sutton Memorial Leadership Award and was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Texas Municipal League. In civic affairs, McFarland is a former director of the Tarrant County Humane Society and the Arlington Civic Chorus. He is a Roman Catholic.[6]

For a time, he was a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in which capacity he worked under J. Edgar Hoover.[1][7]

McFarland and his wife, the former Jane Highfill, whom he met at a church function in 1964, had a son, Bobby McFarland (died 2006), and two daughters, Terry (Ron) BeVellen and Sandra (Tom) Worth.[1]

Political life

In 1979, 1981, 1983, and 1985, McFarland was ranked among the "Ten Best Legislators" from both chambers by Texas Monthly magazine.[8] In 1989, McFarland was one of five senators to serve as Senate President Pro Tempore, having succeeded his regional colleague, Democrat Hugh Quay Parmer (born 1939) of Fort Worth.[9]

In 1986, McFarland objected when the Texas Select Committee on Higher Education, a group appointed by Democratic Governor Mark Wells White to consider streamlining of the state's colleges and universities, proposed that the University of Texas at Arlington be re-defined as a "comprehensive university," with an emphasis on teaching, instead of research. Many UTA faculty and students believed that the change would have eliminated doctoral programs at the institution. McFarland, a UTA "Distinguished Alumnus," declared the select committee recommendation "an over-my-dead-body situation." Soon political support was manifested throughout Arlington and Tarrant County. The mission of UTA was clarified to include "achieving excellence in all academic areas — teaching, research, and public service." McFarland said the controversy brought hundreds of letters and telephone calls and showed him that "there are people out there willing to get involved and support UTA." Then state Representative Kent Grusendorf, also of Arlington, joined McFarland in rallying to the defense of their common alma mater.[10]

As a two-term departing state representative, McFarland succeeded Senator Bill Meier, who unsuccessfully challenged the Democrat James Albon "Jim" Mattox (1943-2008) for the state attorney general's position. In 1991, McFarland was succeeded in the Senate by Republican Chris Harris (1948-2015), also of Arlington, who subsequently was shifted into neighboring Senate District 9.[11]

Bob McFarland Park, part of which is heavily wooded, is operated at 410 East Embercrest Drive by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department and named in his honor.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 M. Robert "Bob" McFarland, Jr.. Fort Worth Star-Telegram (July 27, 2014). Retrieved on April 2, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bob McFarland, Lawyer in Arlington, Texas. Retrieved on September 12, 2011; information no longer on-line.
  3. Bob McFarland. Retrieved on September 16, 2011; material no longer on-line.
  4. Bob McFarland. Retrieved on March 31, 2020.
  5. Millard Robert McFarland. Retrieved on April 2, 2020.
  6. Texas Senate: Bob McFarland. Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved on March 31, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bob McFarland Park. City of Arlington, Texas. Retrieved on March 31, 2020.
  8. Best and Worst Legislators (by year). Retrieved on September 12, 2011; material no longer on-line..
  9. List of Presidents pro tempore of the Texas Senate.
  10. "Yesteryear: United they stood," University of Texas, Fall 2008; material no longer on-line.
  11. Chris Harris. Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved on March 31, 2020.