Farmer, county leader and parks benefactor Rubert Ceder dies


Farmer. Family man. Auctioneer. Tax collector. County leader. Parks benefactor.

Rubert Ceder, who died Nov. 23 at age 95, was many things to many people in Austin and Travis County. His Swedish-American family had worked the land around the Decker Community east of Austin since the 1870s. His parents spoke Swedish at home, and his father read Swedish-language periodicals.

“He was extremely kind and loving, not only to his family, but to just about anybody he met,” said Bonnie Smith, his first cousin. “I never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. He was an extremely hard worker, too, and so strong. Well into his 80s, he’d pick up 50-pound sacks of feed and just plop them into his truck. He was such a dedicated farmer. He loved the land.”

His memory was seared by the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. Yet in 2013, during yet another Texas drought, his fields inside the city of Austin were bursting with corn and wheat ready to harvest.

“No hungry person in Austin ever got turned away from our house,” he once said. “We didn’t have much, but my mom never turned any hungry visitor away. Everyone at least got a biscuit.”

He represented northeastern Travis County on the Commissioners Court from 1960 to 1972, back when most of the region was agricultural. By the time he left the court, the district had become more urbanized and demographically diverse.

More recently, he set aside his family’s land for parks. Junie Plummer, a program manager with the city’s office of real estate services, helped work out deals allowing the city to purchase hundreds of acres for a big metropolitan park. Some of that land has already been developed into recreational facilities.

“We fell so in love with Rubert, we kept up the relationship,” Plummer said in 2013. “The Ceders hadn’t sold off any of the land since 1876. So Rubert went about selling it in a very thought-out way.”

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lillie Belle Ceder, and their son, Dennis, along with grandchildren, great-grandchildren and an extended family.

There will be a visitation at Cook-Walden Funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and a funeral in the Colonial Chapel at Cook-Walden at 10 a.m. Wednesday.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Iran tests new ballistic missile
Iran tests new ballistic missile

Iran tested a new ballistic missile that reportedly is capable of carrying multiple warheads, CNN reported Saturday, citing the nation's state-run broadcaster announced. >> Read more trending news “Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during...
Memo: Seattle officer bragged that 'mini Mafia' controlled off-duty contracts
Memo: Seattle officer bragged that 'mini Mafia' controlled off-duty contracts

As an FBI investigation into Seattle’s off-duty police work unfolds, additional claims of questionable tactics by officers have emerged, including a report that one policeman proudly called his fellow officers a “mini Mafia” in the way they secured, enforced, and collected on private security and traffic contracts in the booming city...
Trump touts transparency on Twitter
Trump touts transparency on Twitter

President Donald Trump has no intention of scaling back his Twitter presence.  >> Read more trending news The president, campaigning for fellow Republican Luther Strange in Alabama on Friday night, touted his provocative and sometimes controversial tweets, CNN reported. "That is the great thing about Twitter," Trump said during...
Texas students told ‘It’s the law’ to stand for Pledge of Allegiance
Texas students told ‘It’s the law’ to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A presentation telling students that they have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because it's the law has caused controversy at a Texas high school, the Houston Chronicle reported. >> Read more trending news  Juniors and seniors at Midland High School were given a presentation on the Pledge of Allegiance earlier this month...
Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge
Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge

A New Orleans mayoral candidate was arrested on a charge of lewd conduct after police said he was found with his pants pulled down in the back of an Uber in Santa Monica, Calif., Nola.com reported. >> Read more trending news Frank Scurlock was picked up on a charge of public masturbation in February, police said. Terry White, a deputy...
More Stories