Honoring the Life and Legacy of Ted Blevins

Lena Pope joins many in the Fort Worth community in grief at the loss of an exceptional leader, mentor, and friend: William Theodore (Ted) Blevins, MHD. 

In honor of Ted’s immeasurable contributions to children and families in our community, Lena Pope is creating the Ted Blevins Memorial Client Assistance Endowment to honor his legacy and his heart for children. This endowment will provide a range of support for the children and families served by Lena Pope. Specifically, these funds will go directly to client assistance and enrichment, something we believe honors and continues Ted’s legacy of putting our clients’ needs at the forefront.  

Judge Don Cosby, former Lena Pope board member, noted, “Ted Blevins believed in the potential and goodness of all the children he supported and guided, and in the people who worked alongside him at Lena Pope.” As Lena Pope’s fourth Executive Director from 1984 – 2008, Ted brought an energy and enthusiasm that helped bridge significant changes in service and operations for Lena Pope. Moving from Kansas to Texas in 1982, Ted and his wife Dollie joined the Lena Pope staff – Ted as residential home program director and Dollie as director of training and consultation. During his tenure, Lena Pope successfully transitioned its programs to evidence-based practices, constructed the Marty Leonard Community Chapel, launched Chapel Hill Academy charter school, was a founding member of the Mental Health Connection, merged with another successful non-profit, and developed new revenue streams like the Chapel Hill Shopping Center retail development (that included retail, dining, and the first Central Market in North Texas).  

During Ted’s tenure, family preservation and stability were the goals of Lena Pope’s programs. Marty Leonard, a longtime Lena Pope Board member, stated, “Ted was the rare and perfect combination of a knowledgeable CEO and a very caring man with a heart for children.” Ted oversaw the development of Lena Pope’s first alternative education program, developed with support of Sid Richardson, Burnett-Tandy, and Amon G. Carter Foundations. By the late 1980s, the Fort Worth ISD alternative education program had an 86-93% success rate in keeping youth from being incarcerated. This alternative education program laid the groundwork for our present-day programs working with the Juvenile Justice system. Family Matters, another program created during Blevins’ tenure, included a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, life skills training, referral services, and case management. Lena Pope’s present counseling services for children and adults can be traced back to this program. Marty Leonard shared: “Ted made sure all children and families of Lena Pope had the necessary care and support they needed, and he also gave personal, fatherly care to many children in his own home. He was an exceptional human being, and many have benefited from his fostering and nurturing.” 

He also implemented first of its kind research components, tracking clients to see what the actual outcomes were years down the road. “He was never married to any one way to care for the kids and as additional research was performed, he guided us away from legacy programs and into new ways to serve our community. He wanted to use evidence-based practices and hard data to make decisions and always made sure to be a good steward of our donors’ dollars to achieve the best outcomes for families and our community,” shared Frosty Tempel, Lena Pope Foundation Board member.  

Ted’s passion to improve child well-being didn’t stop with his work at Lena Pope. “Stories of Ted’s entire life of selfless service to others would fill volumes”, shared Mike Reilly, close friend to Ted and Lena Pope. After the shooting at Wedgewood Baptist Church, Ted and Lena Pope were involved in founding the Mental Health Connection to address emerging needs in the community surrounding mental health. Patsy Thomas, former Executive Director of Mental Health Connection shared, “Ted had a vision to create “No Wrong Door” for people seeking help for their emotional and mental health needs. He engaged other leaders in public and private systems in creating the Mental Health Connection to make the shared vision a reality.”  

Asako Cosby (left), Ted Blevins (center), Marty Leonard (right) when Ted was honored at with the Garcia-Lancarte Award.
Asako Cosby (left), Ted Blevins (center), Marty Leonard (right) when Ted was honored with the Garcia-Lancarte Award.

Ted served on many boards and was a member of countless associations focused on providing quality care to children including Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services, North Texas Behavioral Healthcare Network, Inc., Tarrant County Youth Collaboration, National Teaching-Family Association, Tarrant County Children’s Mental Health Project, and many others. He received many awards for his work on behalf of children and families, including the Hercules Award from United Way of Tarrant County, Friend of Youth Award, and the Health Care Heroes Award. Lena Pope honored Ted Blevins with the Garcia-Lancarte Award in recognition for meritorious support and devotion to Lena Pope’s mission in 2019.  

Following his retirement from Lena Pope, Ted became involved with the Fort Worth Foundation and was the Executive Director of True Worth. Mike Reilly called Ted’s involvement “instrumental in executing the vision and development of True Worth.” His work at True Worth focused on providing resources and services to people experiencing homelessness in our city. The impact of Ted’s work in our community on behalf of children and families has touched countless lives and systematically improved child well-being in Tarrant County and surrounding communities. When describing Ted’s impact, Judge Don Cosby said, “His life’s work and devotion ensured that all children were given the opportunities to reach their potential in becoming good and productive citizens.” 

“Ted was an innovative and thoughtful leader, and we owe much of where we are today to his leadership and vision” shared Lena Pope’s current CEO Ashley Elgin, Ph.D. Lena Pope staff who worked with Ted shared that he was well known for saying “Once a Lena Pope Kid, always a Lena Pope Kid” - he could never turn down a request for a camp scholarship or help with tuition or books from a former Lena Pope kid. No matter what the circumstances, he found a way to do what was best for kids. Frosty Tempel added, “Regardless of what the topic of conversation was, Ted would always add in “It’s really all about the kids.”  He never lost that focus, and he never lost that passion to serve.” 

Blevins, in his 26 years of service, provided Lena Pope with leadership, creative vision, dedication, and an absolute unwavering focus on improving child well-being in Tarrant County. Upon retirement, Ted shared, “Seeing the children come back as adults with their children by their side, hearing them share how they are now raising their children from lessons learned at [Lena Pope], and seeing once shattered lives come back as strong, resilient adults is the greatest bonus of all.” His legacy is cemented in the lives of these children and in our community. 

Service information is unknown at this time.