HOLLIS FLOYD BAKER: humorist, individualist, artist, writer
August 17,1928 – March 13, 2019
Hollis Floyd Baker was born August 17,1928 and died March 13, 2019 at his home in Liberty
Born on a Burnet County farm to Homer and Lola McCoy Baker, Hollis moved with his parents
into the town of Burnet, Texas at the age of four. There he grew up with his two sisters, behind
the grocery store and gas station that his family traded for the family farm. These experiences
were early influencers of the humorist, individualist, and artist Hollis would become.
After graduating from Burnet High, Hollis attended Texas A&M in 1949. He also fell for Alice
Wanda Pirtle, a farm girl and valedictorian from North Texas. His life as an Aggie was
interrupted by Uncle Sam, and Hollis always said his Army career was spent fighting cactus,
sand and barbed wire at Fort Bliss in El Paso. During that time he married Alice on a three-day
leave, and they later settled in Austin while Hollis attended The University of Texas.
Hollis and Alice raised their kids — Gordon, Jeannette, and Greg — in Austin as Hollis applied his
creative talent to earning a living. He learned the art and trade of graphic design and sign
painting. In 1955, he and Alice began one of Austin’s most established family businesses, Hollis
Baker Sign Company. All three children grew up working in the shop, which still thrives today
under management of Greg and his wife, Vickie.
Hollis was a humorous and inspiring storyteller; his stories were true, or as he put it, “mostly
true, but always entertaining.” He honed his public speaking prowess as a decades-long member
of Balcones Toastmasters Club. After moving to Liberty Hill in the 1980s, Hollis and family
sank deep roots. He served on the School Board, and he and Alice became beloved members of
the community. After retirement, Hollis wrote weekly stories for the Liberty Hill Leader and The Liberty Hill Independent newspapers. His stories now exist in a published five-volume collection titled Shin
Oak Ridge series.
Hollis perfected the art of smoking a brisket, growing geraniums, and digging a posthole. He
built his own house and generously helped others with their projects. He was a voracious reader
of history and lore. He created beautiful paintings and labored over the stories he wrote. Hollis
loved spending time with his family, swimming, gardening, tending chickens, and watching
birds. Most of all, Hollis Baker never met a stranger, and whether he and Alice were traveling
around Europe, lounging on a beach in Hawaii, or simply running an errand at HEB or the bank,
those trips became social outings filled with laughter and friendship. Hollis and Alice joyfully
engaged with everyone they meet.
Hollis, or Paux, as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren knew him, is survived by Alice
Pirtle Baker, his wife of 67 years; his sisters Leta May Ebeling and Dolores Jo Bostic and
husband Bob Bostic; his son Hollis Gordon Baker and wife Peggy Sweet; his daughter Jeannette
Baker Commet; his son Gregory Howell Baker and wife Vickie Hinkle Baker; his grandchildren,
Zachary Todd Baker and wife Sarah Baker; Zane Thomas Baker and partner Chelsea Brown;
Hollie Gayle Baker and husband Kevin Anderson; John Thomas Leverette IV and wife Mandy
Hudgens; Christopher Hollis Leverette; Travis Ryan Baker; Brittney Majefski and husband John
Majefski; Caroline Sweet and husband Jorge Ramirez-Sosa; and great-grandchildren Olivia
Susan Baker; John Thomas Leverette V; Silas Ramirez-Sosa, and Emil Ramirez-Sosa. And many
beloved nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at Fellowship Church, 3600 RR 1869 in Liberty Hill. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Liberty Hill Public Library.