Calvin Reville "Cal" Ledbetter Jr. was born April 29, 1929, in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.
Ledbetter earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law. After graduating law school, he briefly practiced with Mehaffy, Smith & Williams law firm in Little Rock before joining the US Army JAG Corps. Ledbetter was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1953 to 1957.
When he returned to the States, Ledbetter attended Northwestern University and received a Ph.D. in political science in 1961. He was a professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock beginning in 1960 and was chair of the political science department for ten years. Ledbetter became dean of liberal arts in 1978 and chaired the National Conference of Academic Deans.
In 1966, Ledbetter was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served for ten years. He was on the board of trustees for Philander Smith College and St. Vincent Infirmary. Ledbetter was the chairman of the college and universities section of the United Way.
Ledbetter passed away on August 10, 2013.