HOLT Royce Cleston Baker, age 81, of Holt, died Aug. 4, 2011, at VA Medical Center. Services will be 3 p.m. Tuesday at Heritage Chapel Funeral Home & Cremations. Burial will follow at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park with Heritage Chapel Funeral Home & Cremations, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing. Visitation will be tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, William Royce Baker, age 49, just this past May.
He leaves behind his three sons, Larry Baker (Alice) of Oceanside, Calif., David Baker of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Kenneth Baker (Rhonda) of Anniston; his three daughters, Vera Becki Baker of Killeen, Texas, JoAnna Baker-Bowles (Wayne) of Richardson, Texas, and Patricia Rucker (Royce) of Killeen, Texas; 12 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; his brother, Rae Baker of Cottondale; his sisters, Vera Mae Abston of Ala. and Fae Simmons of Ala.; as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Mr. Baker was born Aug. 29, 1929, in Hodges, Ala. to Benjamin F. Baker and Etta Lou Rawlings and raised in Hodges, Ala. He entered the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War. He was a member of the U.S. Army Pistol Team where he earned the Expert Pistol Designation and traveled the globe competing in marksmanship competitions. He won hundreds of trophies and medals for his expert pistol skills. He dedicated 20 years of his life serving his country as a member of the United States Army, where he received the Good Conduct Medal Clasp, Bronze, 2 Loops Expert Pistol, and First Oak Leaf Cluster to National Defense Service Medal.
After retiring from the military in 1968, Mr. Baker sold Insurance for National Life and Accident Insurance Co. But, he could not get away from the pistol skills and attended and graduated from the Central Texas College Police Academy in 1974. He then became a Killeen Police Officer and later a Bell County Deputy Sheriff.
Mr. Baker had a passion for animals, especially his now 16 year old cat Tom. He would often help feed and water any animal in need.
He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a lifelong member of the Killeen Masonic Lodge #1125 and the Karem Shrine Temple.
During his life, he exemplified love, kindness, strength, and courage to all who knew him. We, his family and friends, release him to our Heavenly Father in the confidence that we shall be reunited in Heaven.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Royce Baker's name to the Humane Society of West Alabama, 1515 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404.
Condolences may be offered at www.heritagechapeltuscaloosa.com.
Published in Tuscaloosa News on Aug. 8, 2011