Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Round Rock for a memorial service honoring the life of Raymond Hartfield. Mr. Hartfield served the community in various roles, including fourteen years on the Round Rock ISD board of trustees, with six years as president. He also served on the St. David's Round Rock Hospital board, the Greater Williamson County YMCA board, and many other community endeavors. He was honored as Round Rock's Citizen of the Year in 2010.
Former Round Rock ISD trustees and pastors Eric Whitfield and Pat Abbott led the ceremony, along with Pastor Glenda Whitehead of Journey of Faith United Methodist Church. Quite a few community leaders spoke about Raymond and his contributions to various worthy causes. The theme throughout was that Raymond was always positive. He had a knack for seeing the best in everyone and encouraging others. Round Rock ISD Trustee Glen Colby spoke about how they met working to bring Round Rock ISD into the Austin Community College district and how Raymond mentored Glen after he became a trustee. Round Rock City Councilmember George White remembered how Raymond matched people's skills to various volunteer efforts, which led to Mr. White erecting campaign signs for a bond election. Jeff Andreson, CEO of the Greater Williamson Co. YMCA, gave neat rhyming speech about all that Raymond had done for the community. Several close friends and family members also spoke of his love for family. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Ann, his two children, Phillip and Elizabeth, and many more loved ones.
I met Raymond over ten years ago when he was president of the Round Rock ISD board of trustees. He was one of the best I have ever seen at chairing a meeting. He knew how to let everyone have their say, but not to the point of it going on too long. School board meetings can be quite contentious and he was good at making everyone remember that everyone wanted, or should want, what was best for the kids. Then, when I decided to run for commissioner, I went by his house as well as thousands of the other houses. I left a note on his door saying I was sorry I missed him. He was one of the very few who actually called me after I left the note and discussed the issues with me, even though he was supporting one of his longtime friends and neighbors for commissioner. During my time in office, I could always talk to him about any topic. He was especially good at giving advice on budgets, having worked on so many. He gave me great advice on the county budget for the last several years, when money has been tight. He wisely suggested we concentrate on core duties and do those well. Last year, he was working on a civic committee to pass some initiatives for the city of Round Rock. He had already been diagnosed with prostate cancer at that point, but he was still staying positive. He was supposed to come by my office and brief me on the issues one day, but called that morning to say that his chemotherapy appointment had been moved and he could not come in, but he would be glad to have me call him on his cell phone during that time! I told him he should concentrate on getting well, but that was Raymond, wanting to respect my time. He was a great man and he will be sorely missed.
At the end of the service, Pastor Glenda Whitehead challenged everyone in attendance to fill the hole left by Raymond's passing to try to make our community a little better, by working to help others. I hope to live up to the challenge, if only by doing a little bit more each day.
In honor of Raymond, a special fund to help needy students has been established. You can contribute to The Raymond Hartfield Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation, 595 Round Rock West Dr., #404, Round Rock, TX 78681. To learn more about the foundation, go to http://www.roundrockisd.org/educationfoundation.