Farmer. Auctioneer. Tax collector. County leader. Park land banker.
Rubert Ceder, who died Nov. 23, was many things to Austin and Travis County. His Swedish family worked the land east of the city continuously since the 1870s. His parents spoke Swedish at home and his father read Swedish-language periodicals.
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 burst with corn and wheat.
“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 northeast Travis County on the commissioners court from 1960 to 1972, back when most of the region was agricultural.
More recently, he banked his family’s land for future parks. Junie Plummer helped work out the deals for the city to purchased hundreds of acres for a big metropolitan park. Already some of that land has 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 his son, Dennis.
UPDATE: Rubert Ceder’s first name was misspelled in earlier versions of this post.