Ronald Earle “Ronnie” Baker, 76 years old, peacefully entered eternal rest on Monday, May 20. He was born Dec. 9, 1942 to Earlie D. and Mary Matejcek Baker in Cuero, TX. The family moved to Gonzales in 1958, his sophomore year of high school. He swapped out his green Cuero jersey for the orange of the Gonzales Apaches as he played football and participated in track and field, graduating from Gonzales High School in 1961.
In 1962, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he was a Boatswain’s Mate on a refueling ship, the USS Guadalupe. He took it as good fortune that he was on a ship with the same name of the river back home in Texas. He served on active duty until 1965 and in the reserves until 1968.
While Ronnie was off serving in the US Navy, he couldn’t stop thinking about a sweetheart from high school, Florence Marie Wolff. He married her on March 12, 1966 in Gonzales. They raised two daughters and celebrated 53 years of married this year.
After leaving the Navy, and upon his return to Gonzales, he went to work at Ralston-Purina, beginning a career in the poultry industry that would span 52 years. He held positions at Cal-Maine, Holly Farms, Tyson Foods, and most recently Holmes Foods, where he retired in December 2018. He was proud to have purchased his own broiler farm in 1985 and managed that with his wife for 25 years.
He enjoyed some good horses and dogs during his life, but he was most proud of his small cattle herd. Ronnie, aka “RB”, “Ronnie B”, and “Boats”, enjoyed many years of fishing the Guadalupe River and annual trips to Lake Mathis with his lifelong buddies. He also looked forward to deer season and couldn’t wait to take his grandsons hunting on his piece of the Guadalupe River bottom each year. He always had a bountiful garden and thoroughly enjoyed sharing with neighbors and friends.
Ronnie loved hearing a good joke and playing pranks on his co-workers and friends. He could keep a straight face and string along an unsuspecting victim of one of his tales until he just couldn’t stand it any longer and would burst out laughing.
His daughters will tell you that he worked hard and gave his all for the benefit of them and their mother. Whenever they asked him when something was going to happen, when something was going to be done, or when they would receive something they were asking for, his answer to their question “WHEN Daddy?” was always, “Just a little before you really need it.” He named his chicken farm the “little b four” as a special family recognition of that saying of his.
Ronnie was a member of First Lutheran Church of Gonzales and served on various boards over the years, most recently on the usher team.
He is survived by his wife, Florence, and their two daughters, Lori Lyn and husband Matt Spahn of Guadalupe County; and Kristi Lynnea and husband Greg Turner of Liberty Hill. He is also survived by grandchildren Colton, Phoebe and Wyatt Spahn and Garrett and Mason Turner (fiancée Becca Blitch); sister and brother-in-law Shirley and James L. Wolff of Gonzales; in-laws Dorothy and Gene Garrison of College Station; Ella Mae Finch of Seguin; Robert L. and Sandra Wolff of Cost; Sandy Baker of Austin; and Jo Baker of Lubbock, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert R. Baker; and a brother-in-law, Stayton Finch.
The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 23 at Seydler-Hill Funeral Home with a service following at 10 a.m., Pastor Ildiko Rigney officiating. Interment will follow in the Greenwood Cemetery. Pallbearers are Bill Reaves, Bubba Currie, Frank Benes, Lance Benes, Larry Mercer, Benny Lewis, Joe Dale Mills and Harold Grauke. Honorary pallbearers are Larry Hanke, Horace Mercer, and his five grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the First Lutheran Church of Gonzales or the charity of the donor’s choice. Friends may sign the guestbook by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.