BAYS, Richard Bruce "Rick"
Richard Bruce Bays, 68, passed away peacefully with his family and dear friends by his side on September 24, 2015, after a short 7 month battle against cancer. Rick was born in Waco, TX, on March 30, 1947. His family moved to Austin in 1960 when his father, the late Gordon Bays, was named Pastor of Congress Avenue Baptist Church. Rick was a graduate of William B. Travis High School in Austin and of Baylor University in Waco.
After his graduation from Baylor University, Rick proudly served our country in the United State Army. He joined the Army and was admitted in Officer Candidate School at The U.S. Army Engineer School in Fort Belvoir, VA. After his Officer Commission, he proudly served in Viet Nam where he was awarded a Bronze Star for his Meritorious Service.
Rick was a passionate man. He loved the Lord, his family and Public Health.
While the boys were growing up, Rick spent countless hours at the Oak Hill Baseball Fields. In addition to coaching, he held various volunteer positions. He coached the boys until as he said, "they out grew him".
Rick joined the Texas Department of Health in 1988 as the Operations Director for Vital Statistics and several months after being hired, was named Bureau Chief. After a decade of service in Vital Statistics he moved to Health Care Quality and Standards to serve as the Associate Commissioner. He also served as the Associate Commissioner for Consumer Health Protection before being named as the Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Regulatory Services.
In 2007, Rick began serving as the Director of the Response and Recovery Unit in the DSHS Community Preparedness Section. His many years of service and resulting relationships with agencies and key leaders across the state, prepared him well to provide leadership during some of the most challenging disasters in state history, including Tropical Storm Eduard, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Dolly, Hurricane Alex, the San Angelo: Yearning for Zion Ranch response, H1N1 Pandemic, West Nile Virus Outbreak, Bastrop Wildfires and West Fertilizer Plant Explosion. He leaves a rich legacy and an indelible mark on the health of Texas.
After retirement, he continued to serve the people of Texas through his efforts with BCFS Health and Human Services.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gordon B. Bays and Pauldean Bays. He is survived by his wife and soulmate Brenda Kelley Bays, sons Patrick Bays and wife Lisa; Brandon Bays, wife Vanessa and the light of his life his grandson, Felton Bruce Bays. He is also survived by Phillip Bays.
The family would like to acknowledge the incredible love and care provided by BFCFS Health and Human Services during his last days. We were honored and humbled by their support and generosity shown to our entire family. They were indeed Rick's Angels.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to BCFS Health and Human Services: BCFS 1506 Bexar Crossing San Antonio, Texas 78232 or on their website www.bcfs.net
Visitation will be on Monday, September 28, 2015 from 6-8 pm at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Austin, TX 78745. A celebration of Rick's life will be held at 12 noon, Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at First Baptist Church of Georgetown 1333 W. University Ave. 78728.
Interment will follow at the Central Texas State Veteran's Cemetery in Killeen, TX.
Condolences may be sent to: www.harrellfuneralhomes.com
Published by Austin American-Statesman from Sep. 27 to Sep. 29, 2015.