In Memory

Ann Bence (Erben)

Ann Bence Quirk Erben was born on May 26, 1950 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Her parents were Lt. Col. Maxfield “Max” Hudson Bence and Evelyn “Tex” Collins Bence. Ann passed away peacefully on February 22, 2018 in Austin.  
Ann spent most of her childhood as an Air Force brat stationed in Japan and Germany until her family settled down in San Antonio, Texas. Ann was a political force for most of her life. She attended MacArthur High School in San Antonio, Texas, where she co-founded the Teenage Republicans in 1967. After graduating from MacArthur in 1968, she attended Trinity University, majoring in political science. She quickly became involved in College Republicans and worked in the Richard Nixon campaign, among others. Ann soon thereafter dove into Bexar County Republican politics, ventured into state-wide politics, and in 1977, she became co-chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. She helped craft Governor Bill Clements’ successful 1978 and 1986 gubernatorial campaigns. 
In 1983, Governor Clements appointed Ann as the Chairman of the Texas Sesquicentennial Committee, formed to commemorate Texas’ 150th birthday from its independence from Mexico. Ann was the Chairwoman of the 1987 Clements’ Inaugural. Upon returning to office in 1987, Governor Clements’ first executive order was to re-commission the Governor’s Commission for Women and he appointed Ann as its Chairwoman. In 1988, Ann served as an alternate delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention. She later contributed her political talents to many noteworthy Republicans, including Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn, Jack Raines, Tom Pauken and Drew Nixon.
Ann was one of the founding directors of the Texas Lyceum, formed in 1980 to identify and educate the next generation of leaders in Texas and promote the values, traditions and resources of the State of Texas. She was the first woman Chairman of the Texas Lyceum from 1985 to 1986 and remained active in the Lyceum through its 35th Anniversary. Ann passed on the Lyceum tradition of service to the State of Texas to her daughters. The Texas Lyceum was Ann’s second family. 
Ann is survived by her daughters Nancy Akin Shellhorse and Molly Quirk, her sons-in-law David Shellhorse and Reed Boyd, and her grandchildren, Paige and Clark Shellhorse. She is also survived by her ex-husbands, Hugh Akin and Tom Quirk, and her Capitol and Lyceum families. 
Ann’s family wishes to thank Joyce Smallwood and Peggy Hickman for all of their help and kindness, particularly in the last weeks and days of her life. Because of Joyce and Peggy, Ann was able to live the last seven months of her life under her own terms after she was rescued from Port Aransas before Hurricane Harvey. 
The celebration of Ann’s life will be held on March 8, 2018, at The Austin Club, located at 110 E. 9th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 at 5:00 p.m., with the honorable John R. Pitts officiating. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, Ann’s family requests that donations be made to Women’s Shelter of South Texas – Coastal Bend ( or the Texas Heartland Animal Sanctuary (