U.S. Veteran

Rodney William Buxkemper traded his battered heart for his angel wings on August 29, 2020, at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas, with his family by his side.  Rodney faced a number of health issues over the past several years, but he always met those challenges with a positive attitude and good humor.

Rodney was born in Winters, Texas, on November 17, 1956, He was preceded in death by his father, James R. Buxkemper of Ballinger; brother, Jeff (Bucky) Buxkemper of Valera; stepfather, James Spill of Winters; stepmother, Sally Buxkemper of Ballinger; and mother-in-law, Ann Herrmann of Ballinger.

He is survived by his wife, Laura, and son James (Jack) Buxkemper of Norton; daughter, Jessica Buxkemper of Abilene;  mother, Sue Spill of Winters; sister, Suzanne Spill of Winters; brother, Steven Spill of Winters; sister, Lucy Humble, and husband, Monty, of Austin; nieces, Samantha Wills of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Randi Buxkemper of Winters;  nephews Duncan and London Glenn of Austin; father-in-law, Wayne Herrmann of Ballinger; brother-in-law, Jaye Herrmann, and wife, Pat, of Longview, along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Rodney had a large and loving family, but he had such a capacity to love that his family included others not connected by birth, but some he considered to be family.  Joshua Jakotowicz of Abilene was a son to Rodney, and he considered Case Crawford and Elijah Sanchez to be his children as well.  Rodney maintained a continued friendship with his first wife, Mary Wilson, and her husband Dean, of Abilene. He considered Mary’s girls, Hollie Harrell of Abilene, and Maegan Love, of Okinawa, Japan to be his own.  And friends to the very end and beyond, Michael and Stacey Woodall and their children, Hannah and Sam, were also a special part of Rodney’s extended family.

Rodney joined the US Navy in 1975 and was stationed in San Diego, California.  He served aboard the battleship, USS Midway.  He left the Navy in 1979 and returned home to Texas.  Rodney spent the majority of his life in Runnels County in the communities of Winters, Ballinger, and Norton.

Rodney met his soulmate and the love of his life, Laura Herrmann, in Ballinger.  After a lengthy courtship, they married on March 12, 1994, in Ballinger. In Laura, Rodney found his home, his heart, and his love, and they shared that love for over 31 years.

Rodney worked for Dankworth Packing in Ballinger for 17 years before retiring. He and Laura were very active in the Ballinger Bearcat Band Boosters and Rodney, known to the kids as “Pops”, enjoyed driving the bus for every band trip that he could. In that capacity, he gained more “children” and carried the Bandies in his heart always. Rodney was a member of the Glory Road Cowboy Church, and the fellowship he found there filled another place in his heart with the love and salvation of Jesus.

There wasn’t much Rodney couldn’t fix if it was broken, and he probably had the spare part or the tool in his workshop, although only he would be able to find it in his unique way of organizing.  When he was a child, he “fixed” a lot of things that were not broken and maybe there was a piece or two left out when he put things back together, but somehow, they worked.  He was always willing to help anyone.  If you needed help and you called Rodney, he was there.  Rodney’s Aunt Cindy once called him in tears one evening because her tractor was broken.  He drove from Ballinger to Austin that night, fixed the tractor, and met her in the kitchen with a pot of hot coffee at 6:30 the next morning.

Rodney could make you laugh without even trying. He was the life of the party and a heck of a good Spades player.  He was also a master of smoking brisket, raiser of show pigs, rescuer of dogs and cats, driver of the bus, flirt, smart aleck, loving husband, father, son, brother, nephew, and friend.  Rodney touched the hearts of each and every person he met, and we are all better for having known him.

A visitation for Rodney will be held at Lange Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, from 5-7 p.m.

Services for Rodney will be held at Glory Road Cowboy Church Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. with pastor Myron Halford officiating.  Burial will be in the Old Runnels Cemetery.

The family would like to express their sincere thanks to the physicians and staff of his Fresenius Dialysis Center, and doctors, Chris “Cowboy” Haddad and Keith Duryea for their excellent care, and to all of the friends and loved ones for the texts, calls, prayers, and love.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the American Kidney Fund at www.kidneyfund.org, or a charity of your choice.

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