Ed Bethune attended until 1953, the Pocahontas High School. After that, he was from 1954 to 1957 Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps; while he was employed in Korea. After his military service he studied until 1963 at the University of Arkansas, among other Jura. Following its recent admission to the bar the same year he began to work in Pocahontas in this profession. He was also a lawyer in the Supreme Court of the United States (United States Supreme Court ) approved in 1972. Between 1963 and 1964, Bethune was a deputy district attorney in Randolph County. He then worked 1964-1968 as a special investigator for the FBI. In the years 1970 and 1971 he was a prosecutor in the first judicial district of his home state. From 1973 to 1976 Bethune was chairman of the Ninth District Federal Home Loan Bank.
Politically, Bethune joined the Republican Party. In 1972, he competed unsuccessfully for the office of Attorney General of Arkansas. In the congressional elections of 1978, he was elected in the second district of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, where he became the successor of Jim Tucker on January 3, 1979. After two elections in 1980 and 1982, he could remain in 1985 three legislative sessions in Congress until January 3.
1984 renounced Bethune on a renewed candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Instead, he applied unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Senate: He defeated the Democratic incumbent David Pryor. Between 1986 and 1988, Bethune was party leader of the Republicans in Arkansas. After retiring from Congress, he worked as a lawyer in a law firm in the capital Washington. Ed Bethune now lives with his wife Lana in Maryland. The couple has two children.