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1955 Abel 2021

Abel Baeza

December 25, 1955 — September 17, 2021

Balmorhea, Texas

On Friday, September 17, 2021, Abel Baeza took his last labored breath after losing a battle against Covid19.

His passing marks a time of great sorrow for the many people who loved him; those who called him Friend, Primo, Tio, Mijito, Feo, Brother, Pompa, and Dad. In these moments of supreme sadness, we look back at his life with admiration and in celebration of the wonderful man whose life impacted so many individuals on a grand scale.


Abel was born in Pecos, Texas on Christmas Day in 1955 to parents Juan Baeza and Fermana Galindo Baeza. He was to play the role of big brother to his three younger siblings, Irma, Johnny, and Sammy. As a young boy, Abel enjoyed the fringe benefits of being the firstborn - sneaking Jello from the fridge while it was setting and blaming it on someone else, intimidating his siblings into keeping secrets from their parents, and often taking the lead in little misadventures with his BB gun or piles of rocks. Thankfully, later on in life, as he matured, he came to understand that his role also came with responsibilities, which he dutifully accepted and fulfilled. He was always ready and willing to help out his siblings however he could. Be it through parables and advice, words of encouragement and hope, or just moral support through the trials and pitfalls of life, Abel worked hard to show up for his family, oftentimes without waiting to be asked.


Growing up in Balmorhea, in a family who had to work hard for all they had, Abel became an entrepreneur at a young age, selling bottles, cans, and rocks to earn money for treats and toys. He loved recounting stories of spending 25 cents for a candy, a soda, and a balsa wood airplane at the convenience store in town. Seeing that a little hard work and effort paid off, he learned he was the kind of guy who could help make things happen and came to be known as the man with a plan. Abel always had a strategy for everything and typically accomplished anything he set out to do.


He was always a firm believer in challenging yourself to do better and be better. If he encountered a problem, he was quick to come up with creative solutions. When playing basketball in high school, the team ran out of men's shorts and handed him an extra pair of women's shorts for his uniform. Ladies' shorts had two white stripes running down the side, while men's shorts only had one. He grabbed some masking tape and made the two stripes into one. Problem solved! And when his game needed improvement but he had no basketball or hoop with which to practice, he nailed an empty coffee can to a post at home and practiced shooting rocks into it until the skill had been mastered.
His efforts paid off. Not only had Abel found favor with his teachers and administrators for his excellence in academics, but he won the hearts of the community (and the ladies) when it became clear that he possessed incredible athletic ability. The way the story is told, people from all of west Texas trembled at the mere mention of his name. He was the guy to watch out for when it came to basketball or football.


As a local football legend, it only made sense that Abel would fall in love with a cheerleader. Fellow classmate Velma Carrasco became his high school sweetheart, and ultimately the love of his life. The two of them shared an on again off again relationship that burned with a passion so strong that it brought new meaning to the term crazy in love. Four years after graduating from high school, the two were wed on December 28, 1978. But while their years were the best of times, they were occasionally also the worst of times and their marriage ended in 2014. However, the heart will not be denied, and as love would have it, the couple reunited in the summer of 2020. Even Hollywood doesn't write stories like that.
Shortly after being married, Abel and Velma decided to start a family. After a few years the couple welcomed their only daughter, Adriana and five years later were surprised with twins, Juan and Carlos. Abel poured all of his love into his family and worked hard to make sure they were happy, safe, and well taken care of. The couple purchased barren land in Greenwood, Texas. When Abel first laid eyes on it, it was nothing but dirt and weeds. Determined to have a yard free from stickers, he set to work on turning it into the greenest little patch of paradise in the desert you ever did see. So many hours of backbreaking labor just so that his children could enjoy running around barefoot! Abel was the type of father that showed up and went the extra mile for his kids; the type of dad that made other dads pale in comparison. He was the type of dad a kid is proud of.
If Abel was meant to be a father, he was especially called to be a grandpa. Nothing put a goofy grin on his face quite like his grandkids did. From the very first moment he held them, he adored them. He would whisper his name gently into their tiny ears, hoping to have "Pompa" be their first word. He spent hours walking with them in his arms or by his side, just teaching them as much about the world around them as he could. From blades of grass and clouds in the sky to dealing with life's problems and treating people with respect, Abel saw every situation as a teaching experience. He had a love for learning and a love for teaching and never missed an opportunity to pass on his sage wisdom and life experience. But he was also playful and loving and enjoyed laughing with his grandkids. He lived for moments with them and they are the better for it.
The biggest moments in Abel's life were his wedding day, the birthdays of his children and grandchildren, and the day he was baptized into the Seventh-Day Adventist faith. He sat down with a Bible one day, dead set on disproving new truths. Abel decided to read the entire Bible if he had to, and that's exactly what he did. By the time he was finished, he had discovered a wonderful saving relationship with Jesus. Excited about his new discovery, he set out to share the news with as many people as he could. At times he would be met with opposition but Abel pressed on, grounded in the belief that Jesus is his LORD and Savior and spurred on by hope in His soon return. Abel's faith changed the way he lived his life. It changed the way he saw people. From that point on, Abel always spoke of "the goal"; the goal of getting those he loved to Heaven.
Abel's love for Jesus motivated him to spend hours studying the scriptures as well as the Hebrew language. He had an affinity for memorizing texts and was granted wisdom to understand what he read and studied with others. He began having Bible studies with any friends and family who were interested and even though Abel was terrified of public speaking, he began delivering sermons at church when the pastor was absent and needed a fill-in. Eventually he was speaking at neighboring churches as well. But Abel didn't just preach from a pulpit on Saturdays. He preached sermons with his daily life in the way he treated people.


At church, he was elected to give classes for the youth and he was excited to share Christ with them each week. He also joined up with his church's youth ministry, Pathfinders, as a counselor, a director, and a major financial supporter. It was important to him that the young people have a safe place to learn, have fun, and most importantly, have an encounter with God. Through this ministry he often cemented lifelong friendships with like-minded individuals. It also introduced him to the magical world of pin trading, a hobby that fascinated him for years.
Abel had many hobbies and took pleasure in a great many things in this life, most of which he enjoyed sharing with the people he loved most. At the top of the list was arrowhead hunting. It combined his love for God's creation with his intense interest in his Native American Heritage. Abel could often be found (or not found) hiking or just sitting outside in a quiet spot beneath the shade of a tree, listening to the sounds of nature. He loved rock hunting (especially with his grandkids) and bird watching, camping and starting fires, motorcycle rides, and anything to do with water, especially swimming in the ditches in Balmorhea (also especially with his grandkids). He followed the stars and always knew when the next meteor shower would be passing overhead. As he wasn't much of a morning person for most of his life, Abel took delight in the colors of the sky at sunset. But in time, Abel learned to also appreciate the sunrise. Oftentimes he would call people just to tell them to go outside and look at the sky, especially the moon. "Check it out," he would say.


Abel loved watching the weather. He could sit outside for hours just to watch the dazzling display of lightning in the distance and would often head to the creek to witness the mighty power of flowing water once the rain made its way down the mountains. On occasion, Abel's love for adventure urged him to follow the storm, and more than once he ended up just a little too close for other people's comfort to the edge of a tornado. But Abel chased excitement and thrills. Unless it involved heights - Abel HATED heights.
Another thing that Abel hated was "plastic" tortillas. He believed that the only way to enjoy a tortilla was hot and fresh and a little bit crispy, straight off the comal, lathered in butter and sprinkled with salt. Extra salt. Actually, Abel just loved salt. In his early years he was known to carry paper packets of salt in his vehicle at all times. More recently, he had graduated to a full on sea salt grinder.


Food was important to Abel. He was all about a good meal. Fire roasted green chile, pico de gallo, his own homemade salsa, guacamole, fajita burritos from Rosa's, tacos, his brother's chicken, his mother's squash, his wife's tortillas, his son's steak and eggs. Abel was picky. Had to be Keebler brand vanilla wafers in his banana pudding. Oreos or Chips Ahoy on game days. Dr Pepper, Pepsi, RC, or sweet tea with a little bit of tea in his sugar. But he had to have his 10 pound bag of ice from the store - none of the make it yourself stuff. And Abel never met a Snickers bar he didn't like. He liked chocolate cake on his birthday and chocolate dipped cones from Dairy Queen any day of the week.
Abel understood that sometimes a box of pizza or a dozen donuts is what you needed to get you through the day. Mostly because he always had a story or a joke to go along with whatever treat he was sharing with you. Many sage words of advice were shared over an oatmeal raisin cookie or a Hershey's kiss (or three).
Abel will be missed for his outlook on life. The foresight and strength with which he handled life's toughest situations is to be admired. He said that integrity required bravery and resolve as well as kindness. Abel possessed all four and then some. He believed in forgiveness and in doing the right thing even when it was hard. And he believed that sometimes it really was just too hard to do the right thing on our own and in those times, really ALL times, it was best to let Jesus take over.


Abel had an incredible sense of humor. No one really tells a joke or a story quite like Abel did. He lived for putting a smile on someone else's face. From puns to groan worthy dad jokes, Abel liked to laugh. For such a big, strong, masculine guy, he really had the goofiest giggle. He can be quoted as saying, "Okay. Bad joke," while he grinned from ear to ear. You know when he was choosing not to say something clever he was thinking. He would press his lips together tightly, suppressing a smile, and shake his head. Usually, the temptation was too great and he'd eventually reveal his thoughts. He was always a comedic genius, at least if you asked him.


Hugs. Abel looked forward to hugs. He understood that you didn't even really need a reason for a hug. His favorite hugs were from his grandkids and his children, but longtime friends and family often got more than the firm handshake he reserved for acquaintances. Abel's arms were strong and warm and inviting. Abel gave the best hugs and we know he will meet us all at the gates of heaven with an eager embrace.


Until that glorious day when we are reunited with him, we will remember him fondly and miss him greatly for the legendary man that he was. But Abel would tell us to be strong. He would tell us to not lose faith. He would tell us that Jesus is coming soon, and he would say it with a smile and raise his eyebrows in expectancy as he would remind us that God always faithfully keeps His promises. And he would be right. He was, sometimes irritatingly, always right.


Abel would definitely make a beeline for his Savior at the second coming. But right after Jesus, those people who Abel most assuredly will be excited to fly to at the second coming will be his parents and grandparents who preceded him in death, as well as many beloved relatives and close friends. Death broke his heart a number of times before it took him from us and broke ours. Those of us he leaves behind to mourn our great loss, are those of us he impacted the most - a slew of family, friends, and coworkers who loved him and will cherish his memory for all their years to come. There are too many of his friends to list as Abel may have been the most extroverted hermit you could ever know. If you really got to know Abel, you became his friend or at the very least wanted him to become yours. He was loyal and trustworthy and if you called him "Friend" you were very blessed indeed.


Abel is survived by his longtime love, Velma Carrasco, daughter Adriana and her husband Antonio Contreras, two sons Juan Baeza and wife Amanda, Carlos Baeza and wife Karla, eight grandchildren Emilianna Joy Contreras, Divinity Rain Baeza Contreras, Sebastian Emmanuel Pacheco, Roman Benicio Pacheco, Noah Abel Baeza, Mila Soleil Baeza, Maya Rae Baeza, and Liam Isaiah Baeza. He also leaves behind a sister, Irma Baeza, his younger brother Johnny Baeza and wife Margo, his baby brother Sammy Baeza and wife Lori as well as an ever increasing plethora of nieces and nephews who he adored and cherished.


We honor his memory through laughter, love, and kindness. We carry on his legacy by smiling through our pain. He will be missed and never forgotten. Rest in peace, Abel. Jesus is coming for you soon.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Interment following funeral service

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Balmorhea Cemetery

, Balmorhea, TX 79718

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Memorial Service

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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