Bobby Britton Hand, of Gonzales, was born in Alice, Texas on March 14, 1940, to William R. Hand and Rhea McCall Hand. Bobby passed from this life at his Gonzales County home on Dec. 16, 2019. He was 79 years old, and a member of the Lutheran Church.
Bobby is survived by his devoted wife of 52 years, Barbara Behlen Hand. They were married on Nov. 22, 1967 in Gonzales.
Other survivors include his son, Brice Britton Hand (wife, Rhonda), and their children, Briant and Briggs Hand. Daughter, Belinda Carol Walker and her children, Brittany Walker, Kamii Ramos, and Tanner Walker. Son, Kenneth Warren Wright (Judy), and his children Kyle and Brock Wright. Great grandchildren are Lane Mills, Cole and Morgan Boothe, Blake, Shiloh, Lily and Everly Wright, and Brodi Jo Ramos. Bobby was preceded in death by Laura Jo Hinton in 1965, who he married on July 1, 1961. Also preceding him in death are his parents, his father-in-law, G. O. Behlen, mother-in-law Josephine DuBose Hinton Johnson, Lillian Lee Hinton and Rufe R. Hinton.
Bobby graduated from Victoria High School in 1958. He played the tuba in the band and earned a college scholarship in the process. Bobby graduated from Victoria College in 1960 then headed for Texas A&I in Kingsville, Texas. There Bobby graduated with a BBA in 1962. This set the stage for his exciting and meaningful life journey.
Bobby Hand entered Officer Training School at Lackland AFB in San Antonio right out of college in April 1962. He was commissioned on June 26, 1962. Bobby advanced rapidly in the Personnel Division of the U.S. Air Force. By December 1964, Bobby was the Chief of the Career Control Branch at Chanute AFB, Ill. Bobby was separated from Active Duty on June 25, 1965, and joined the 921st Military Airlift Group Reserves in October 1966. There he attained the rank of Captain. He was honorably discharged from the US Air Force Reserves on Feb. 18, 1975.
Bobby grew up fishing along the Texas Gulf Coast. He loved fishing with friends who spanned decades of his life. He also enjoyed such things as acting and building sets for the Gonzales Little Theatre. He played in “10 Little Indians” and “Dial M for Murder.” Bobby likewise loved to coach Little League baseball and did so for many years as his kids grew up. If not out playing ball, fishing or acting, Bobby might be found raising chickens and tending to cattle. Seldom was Bobby found relaxing.
“A jack of all trades” is how some might describe Bobby. He had a business mind and the ability to adapt principles of success to a variety of trades and disciplines. For example, Bobby worked for Migrant Health Services, the First National Bank of Gonzales for 20 years, Graham Land and Cattle, Kactus Corral, Gonzales County as the County Auditor, and for the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Department. In addition to all of these things, Bobby was well known for teaching Defensive Driving to folks who had gotten traffic tickets.
Bobby did not just “have jobs to earn money.” Bobby served his country, his community, and his family. Bobby was a Rotarian for many years and served a year as President of the local club. Bobby practiced the Rotary International motto of “Service Above Self.” Bobby was among the early members of the Gonzales Volunteer Ambulance Corps and put up with Barbara’s EMS service throughout her 45 years of daily involvement. Bobby was an EMT and helped many sick and injured in their time of need. Bobby also served the City and County of Gonzales by volunteering hundreds of hours of law enforcement duty. Bobby served on the initial Board of the Gonzales County Water District and was part of the Gonzales Area Development Corporation.
Perhaps the characteristic of Bobby that contributed as much to his success as his intelligence was his personality. One thing that all of Bobby’s friends, and that is a very large group, would agree upon is that if you had time, or didn’t, Bobby was going to tell you one, two, or a dozen jokes! Some were detailed, some were hilarious, some were silly, and some made eyeballs roll. Most importantly, they all produced at least a smile, and that is what Bobby lived for. A classmate at Officer Training School once said that the academy would never be the same after Bobby Hand had been there. Those who knew him know that was right. One can guess what it must have been like to be in Bobby’s Defensive Driving Class. Some may have thought being held captive in the Hall of Hand jokes was cruel and unusual punishment, and that they should have just paid the fine! The jokester will be missed.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, Dec. 18, in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home with Pastor Ildiko Rigney officiating. Pallbearers: Greg Tieken, David Bird, Glen Sachtleben, Ken Hedrick, Bubba Hermann and Frank Wallace. Memorials may be made to the Gonzales First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1206 N. St. Joseph Street, Gonzales, Texas 78629 or the Gonzales County EMS/Rescue, 1703 Saint. Joseph St., Gonzales, Texas 78629. Friends may leave their condolences by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.