b. 1893 – Corsicana, Texas
Jester graduated from the University of Texas and attended Harvard Law School before World War I interrupted his studies. After receiving a law degree from the University of Texas he returned to Corsicana to practice law and manage land, cotton, and cattle on a ranch in Navarro County. As the youngest chairman of the board of regents of the University of Texas, he promoted a building program that included the Tower of the Main Building, the Texas Union, Hogg Auditorium, Gregory Gymnasium, and an expansion of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He also served on the Railroad Commission.
After winning the race for governor in a field of 14 as a middle-of-the-road Democrat in 1946, he easily won a second term in 1948. While he opposed President Truman’s civil rights program, he was in favor of state civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching laws and repeal of the poll tax, and supported the establishment of a major university for African Americans. Jester was the first Texas governor to die in office.