Bobby Tom Baird (Buddy), 90, passed away peacefully on May 6, 2023 in Fort Worth, TX.
A 4th generation Texan, he was born in his grandparents’ small ranch house outside of Clarendon, TX to Elton Odell (Mike) Baird and Esma (Essie) Latane Keener Baird on December 7, 1932. At the time of his birth, most of his Baird and Keener families were all living and working in and around Clarendon. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Robert Elton Baird (shortened to Bobby) and his maternal grandfather, Thomas Milton Keener (shortened to Tom), hence Bobby Tom. His character and personality were strongly shaped by both sides of his family’s backgrounds, who worked in the ranching, farming and oilfield environments of remote West Texas through the depression and dust bowl.
As a young child, his parents and his older brother, Mike Elton, moved to Wichita Falls, Texas where he grew up. On his 9th birthday, Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, he tells the story of licking the bowl of the chocolate birthday cake that his mom was preparing when the radio program was interrupted by the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. He and his mother and brother immediately went outside into the yard where all of the neighbors where congregating to ask each other, “Where Is Pearl Harbor??” Had he been old enough, he would have enlisted in the military in WWII. But, as a child growing up, he followed all of the military news of his Keener uncles’ time overseas and created detailed paintings of WWII planes.
He was a small, but accomplished and hardworking football player. As a member of the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes football squad, the team won back-to-back State Championships in 1949 and 1950 of his junior and senior years. He treasured his memories and his Letterman’s jacket representing that achievement for the rest of his life.
He went on to attend Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. While attending Midwestern, he met Mary Ann Self and they married in the summer of 1956. They had and raised one child together, Bobbie Ann Baird, and remained together for 65 years until she preceded him in death in 2021.
He worked his entire career in the oil business and he and his family followed the jobs, moving from Wichita Falls and Snyder, TX, Farmington, NM, then back to the small West Texas towns of Andrews, Midland, and Odessa. In the late 1960’s, they settled on the west side of Fort Worth where they built their first home in the late 1970’s and remained until he and Mary Ann moved into Westmore Assisted Living in 2018. He also spent a few years living and working overseas in Trinidad/Tobago and Venezuela.
In his spare time, he loved studying and reading about WWII history. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of WWII history and had floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with hundreds of serious history books. He made daily trips to Half Priced books where he perused more history books, talked to people and drank the free coffee. The staff there set aside books that they knew he would be interested in.
He loved watching college football, especially the old Southwest Conference. He was an avid TCU fan and spent countless hours “hootin and hollerin” for the Froggies, always attired in his purple TCU jacket and TCU football cap. One of the biggest thrills of his life was watching the Frogs play and compete last year for the 2022 National Championship for the first time since 1937. Talk about going out on a high note!
He loved old, traditional Country and Western music and sang along to and danced to any and every Marty Robbins and Hank Williams song. In his later years he wandered around the halls of the Senior living facility where he lived singing the Marty Robbins song “Ride, Cowboy, Ride” as he regaled the nurses, aides, residents and visitors to the community, arm in the air “riding a bronc style”. He also loved old John Wayne westerns and WWII movies.
He was fiercely independent and feisty his whole life and kept everyone who cared for him on their toes until his very last day. Many who knew him described him “a handful” or “ornery” or, alternatively, “so cute” or “so funny” (but never boring), depending on their sense of humor or the thickness of their skin. Without exception though, he made people laugh and will be missed.
Buddy is preceded in death by his parents, Mike and Essie, his brother, Mike Elton, and his wife Mary Ann.
He is survived by his daughter, Bobbie Baird her husband, David Acree and his Baird nephew and nieces, Mike Baird, of Palm Springs, CA, Linda Baird of Wichita Falls, TX and Carolyne Peacock of Santa Fe, NM.
He will be taking his final journey to be laid to rest in Vernon, TX next to his wife, Mary Ann. His family will have a private graveside celebration of life and remembrance there at Wilbarger Memorial Park.
The family would like to express gratitude and appreciation to all of the people at Westmore Senior Living who so warmly cared for him over the last few years of his life.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his honor to the charity that is closest to your hearts. Charities that support, encourage, and enable young women to study and succeed in STEM fields and/or be safe, protected and successful in life and careers have always been especially important to the Baird family.