Servant, leader, educator Col. Bea M. Marin comes home to Tarleton

U.S. Air Force Col. Bea M. Marin

U.S. Air Force Col. Bea M. Marin

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — U.S. Air Force Col. Bea M. Marin returns to Tarleton State University on Friday, April 26, with the dedication of a statue in her honor. She was a key player in the School of Nursing from 2000 until her death in 2008.

The dedication takes place at 2 p.m. in front of the Nursing Building on the Stephenville campus. The public is invited. Visitors can park in Lot 26 on North Rome Avenue across from the Recreational Sports Center.

“Colonel Marin had the heart and passion of a true servant-leader,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio, “instructing nursing students, serving the Stephenville community and tending wounded soldiers and prisoners of war during one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. It is only fitting that we honor her service, leadership and tireless commitment to create a more caring world.

“This tremendous piece of art will have a lasting impact on Tarleton students and the Stephenville community for generations to come.”

Created by sculptor Ginny Knight Blevins and funded by Minerva and Dr. Robert C. Terrill (Marin’s sister and brother-in-law), the almost life-sized bronze portrays the colonel as a compassionate nurse and captures the history of the profession with a trademark white hat, dress and stockings.

“As a kid in college, I remember watching ‘China Beach’ on television,” Blevins said. “Finding out that Bea was actually one of the China Beach nurses gave me a perspective that was different than what I knew of her just around the Stephenville community or as an instructor at the university.

“It was the rich history of who Colonel Marin was as a human being that fascinated me most. That she lived through the Vietnam War, that she witnessed the things our soldiers went through, that she cared for them and then become their symbol of hope.”

Marin enlisted as a registered nurse in the Air Force in 1967 and retired in 1993 as the first Hispanic female to earn the rank of full colonel. During the Vietnam War she served at the 12th Air Force Hospital at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam, Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, and Yokota, Japan.

She was sent back to Vietnam to bring wounded soldiers home, and in 1973 she made three trips to Hanoi to pick up returning American prisoners of war. Other duty stations would follow in the United Kingdom, Arizona, the Philippines, New Mexico, Ohio, California and a return to Carswell AFB. She served Harris Methodist Erath Hospital as a nurse executive from 1994 until she joined the faculty at Tarleton.

Always active the community, Marin served on the Stephenville City Council from 1997 to 2003. When she opened The Bakery on Lingleville Road, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a business that served the Hispanic community.

She was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Cross Timbers Business and Professional Women’s Club, Habitat for Humanity, Hispanic Business Council, Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, Humane Society, Stephenville Lions Club, Stephenville 20th Century Club, Stephenville Music Club, Stephenville Economic Development Foundation and the Texas Nurses Association.

Her recognitions include 1985 Federal Employee of the Year, 1988 Erath County Woman of the Year, and a DFW Great 100 Nurses for 1998 and 1999.

Shortly after her death, members of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 234 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9181 established the Bea Marin Memorial Nursing Scholarship in her honor.

For more information on Tarleton’s School of Nursing, visit To view a map of the Stephenville campus, go to

To make a contribution to the Bea Marin memorial endowment, call Tarleton’s Office of Development at 254-968-9769.

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.


Contact: Cecilia Jacobs, Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications
[email protected]

A founding member of The Texas A&M System, Tarleton State is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 16,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.