Passing on perseverance

February 27th, 2018

Raised by the first black judge in Dallas, Louis Bedford III grew up knowing the meaning of perseverance. For those who master it, no obstacle is too great.

Louis Bedford III

“He made sure I saw the struggles he went through as a child,” said Bedford, whose father was born in the segregated South of the 1920s. When it came time for law school, Bedford’s father had to leave the Lone Star State because blacks were barred from law schools in Texas. But he returned with his law degree and spent the rest of his life working for civil rights to improve the lives of those who would come after him, including his son, Louis Bedford III, executive director of Environmental Services, Textiles and Transportation at JPS.

“There were very few black lawyers in Dallas at the time,” said Bedford. “He couldn’t join the Dallas Bar Association. He was active in sit-ins in the 1960s, went to court with Martin Luther King Jr. on numerous occasions, and worked on school desegregation,” becoming a municipal judge in 1966.

Deciding that law school was not for him, Bedford got his degree in business from University of Houston. He carries forward other parts of his father’s legacy, however, including service to others and striving to be the best at whatever endeavors one pursues.

At JPS, Bedford works to reinforce the No. 1 reason we’re all here. “You have to make sure everybody understands, we’re here for the patients,” he said. “At JPS when someone has an issue, everyone works together to try to resolve it. It’s very much a team effort.

“It’s all about establishing relationships,” Bedford said. “One of the things I was taught early on was communication: You need to let people know where you’re coming from. We all come from different backgrounds and have different jobs to do, but we’re all here for the same reasons and want our organization to be the best that it can be for the benefit of the patients we are here to serve. No one can do that in isolation.”

Bedford has a son, Louis Bedford IV, who graduated last year from law school at the University of Texas, where his grandfather was not allowed, and is working for a civil rights organization in Chicago. His daughter is in college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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