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Legendary Medina businessman remembered

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 12:00 pm

An angry storm pelted Medina with rain during a memorial there on Saturday, Sept. 29 but also provided the backdrop for some unplanned humor.

The memorial for visionary businessman Baxter Adams was underway at the Apple Store when a piercing crack of thunder jolted everyone nearby and caused the speaker to pause.

“That was Baxter making a comment,” joked longtime friend and former employee Genie Strickland as the crowd laughed.

The pounding rain did not stop family, friends and admirers of the man called the Father of the Texas Apple Industry from paying homage to Adams.

He died March 21, 2018 at the age of 89.

Adams worked as a geologist in Houston for several oil companies and also had his own oil company, Sunbelt Oil & Gas, before retiring in 1981 and moving with wife Carol to Love Creek Ranch 10 miles west of Medina.

The new owners decided not to raise cattle but something else - fruit.  Adams knew that peaches were raised throughout the Hill Country, so he went another way.

After learning that Romania, which has a climate like Medina, was successful with dwarf apple trees, Adams visited the East European country and decided to raise the same crop on Love Creek Ranch, officials said.

The result was thousands of dwarf apple trees in production by 1990.   

Adams is credited with boosting the state apple industry and helping Medina earn the title of the Apple Capital of Texas.

That recognition was memorialized by the placement of a large, stone apple across Highway 16 from the Apple Store.

“He was called the Johnny Appleseed of Texas for his work,” said Strickland, and other Internet sources agreed.

Baxter and Carol Adams went from selling the apples at their house to marketing apples at a variety of businesses, including the Apple Store, and shipping apple pies made with apples from Love Creek.

Carol Adams was moved by the ceremony held for her husband on Saturday.

“This is an amazing event and you can feel the love,” she said. “It is great to see all the people Baxter and I love and those who love us.”

The Adamses had a long and strong connection to the Hill Country, friends and family said, and showed it with the donation of 1,400 acres to the Nature Conservancy of Texas to create the Love Creek Preserve in Bandera County. 

“Dad was so enthusiastic about whatever he was doing, and he liked to build, including the Apple Store,” said his oldest daughter, Ellen Ducote. “And he liked to have fun, so we had music in the store every Friday night.” 

“Baxter is one of those people who has done everything, it seems, but who doesn’t have a big head about it,” said Bryan Hutzler, who purchased Love Creek Ranch, the Apple Store and Love Creek Orchards from Baxter and Carol Adams.

One visitor at the memorial had a story that reflected the fun-loving, life-loving nature of the Baxter Adams.

“He was a teacher because every time I was with him I learned something,” said family friend Fourth Coates.

“One day we were at the ranch, and he asked if I was hungry, and I said ‘yes.’ He pulled down this and that from kitchen cabinets, including some bread. He had invented the peanut butter, mayonnaise and tomato sandwich,” Coates said laughing.

Baxter Adams is also considered a pioneer in propagating the native Texas Big Tooth Maple – the maple in Lost Maples State Natural Area.  

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