Ruben Solon Nixon, 96, of Bastrop, passed from this life on Friday, March 31, 2023. He was born in Davilla, Texas, on April 3, 1926 to Julia Keith Nixon and Willie Lott Nixon—the last of seven children. Ruben’s mother Julia was 45 years old when Ruben was born, so Ruben was quite a surprise.
The family’s home burned down when he was about 8 years old and a short while later the family’s possessions were auctioned off by the bank. At this point in time, Ruben was already partially responsible for his family due to his father’s ill health so the boy child quietly slipped away and took two pigs and a steer and staked them out down on the creek so they would not be auctioned. Ruben’s father died in 1939 leaving Julia with three children to care for.
He attended schools in Davilla, Rogers and Temple, Texas, and later attended Nixon Clay Business School in Austin, and Britton Auction Academy in Bryan, Texas.
Two of Ruben’s brothers and two brothers-in-law had already enlisted in the service of their country, so Ruben joined the US Navy in 1944 and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Sargent Bay in the Pacific theater where he was involved in seven battles. When the war was over, he returned to Bartlett, still not old enough to legally drink a beer. Shortly after his arrival back in Bartlett, he attended a bar-b-que honoring another Bartlett native who was a wounded veteran. There he met his best friend’s sister, Virginia Jackson. After enjoying himself at the party, Ruben wearing his sailor whites actually fell into Virginia’s plate of bar-b-que. A courtship ensued and they were married on September 25, 1948 and honeymooned in Austin, Texas. Their marriage lasted 63 years.
As a member of the Hunt / Messer/ Nixon extended family, Ruben and his kinsmen hunted rabbits and varmints and roamed the countryside around Bartlett, Davilla and Rogers. Ruben also learned to be the ultimate swapper trader. He never met a stranger and loved to tell his barber shop jokes. A family member once asked him what kind of tractor his family had when he was a young boy. He put down the newspaper, looked over his glasses and said “Tractor, hell! You should have asked “what color our mule was.” Ruben loved traveling with his family to the mountains of New Mexico and all around the USA, and to the small towns in central Texas. One of his favorite activities was preparing steaks to serve his guests. As a young man, he could not wait to get away from the farm, but in his later years, his memories of farm life rekindled and he grew fruits and vegetables which he sold and gave away. He was accused that his gardening endeavors were just a ploy to bring folks to his door so he could visit with them. Since his payment for produce was on the honor system, he loved going out in the mornings to find payment for his watermelons – sometimes under a rock, or attached to his windshield wipers or an IOU signed by someone he knew. When he was 90, he planted a peach orchard.
He owned and loved numerous dachshunds and whenever one of his old dogs would pass over the rainbow bridge, he always said “never again”, but he would soon show up with a squirming baby puppy in his overall pocket.
Until 1969, Ruben was the owner and operator of Nixon Barber Shop in Bartlett Texas, and was later employed at Sears Roebuck in Austin for 20 years. Along with his wife Virginia, he was a real estate investor in the Austin area and had flipped houses since the 1970s. He was a former commander of the Bartlett American Legion Post, a former member of the First Baptist Church of Bartlett and a current member of Colorado River Cowboy Church in Smithville, Texas.
Ruben is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Virginia; son, Ralph Kennard Nixon; brothers Wendell, Albert, Clifton, and Benson; sisters, Oleta Hardy and Emma Ella Green; son-in-law Carl Kelly; nephews, Gary Jackson, Roy Hardy, David Stevenson, and Michael Hudec; and close friend, Mike Finley, who was instrumental in his care.
Ruben is survived by a family who will miss him greatly, daughter, Nancy Nixon Kelly; grandson, Clayton M. Kelly (Kimberly); granddaughter, Amanda Nixon Bousquet and (Beck); three great grandchildren, Liam, Scarlett and Logan Kelly; and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather for a Visitation at Elgin Funeral Home Tuesday, April 4th from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. A Graveside service will be conducted at Bartlett Cemetery on Wednesday, April 5th at 10:00 AM with Pastor Bubba Fowler presiding. Military Honors will be rendered at the Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family requests for donations be made in Mr. Ruben Nixon’s honor to the National Kidney Foundation at https://kidney.org.
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The National Kidney Foundation
American Kidney Fund 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville MD 20852