Baird, Roland Winford, Sr. (1899–1988)

By: Dorothy Baird Mattiza

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: October 5, 2020

Roland W. Baird, Sr., an executive of Mrs. Baird's Bakeries, was born on September 10, 1899, at Ripley, Tennessee, the sixth of eight children of William Allen and Ninia Lilla (Harrison) Baird. The family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1901. By 1908 Mrs. Baird had begun baking bread for her neighbors, with young Roland standing on a box at the kitchen table to knead the dough. After their father's death in 1911, all four sons helped support the family by selling their mother's bread in the neighborhood. They built a bakery in their back yard. While attending Draughn's Business College in Fort Worth, Roland baked at night and delivered bread in the afternoons. He married Faye Burrell in 1922, and they had a son and three daughters.

In 1918 the Bairds built their first baking plant, in Fort Worth. In 1928 Baird moved his family to Dallas, where he built a modern bakery. In 1938 the Bairds built a third plant in Houston, which was followed in 1949 by a fourth bakery in Abilene. By then Mrs. Baird's Bakeries was the largest independent bakery operation in the United States. The Bairds originated the practice of twisting equal parts of dough to form each loaf of bread, thus improving the loaf. Roland originated the company's slogan, "Stays Fresh Longer," and designed the wrapper.

In 1937 he bought a ranch near Marble Falls. When it was inundated by Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in 1951, he bought another near Johnson City. Commuting from Dallas to his ranch enabled Baird to enjoy his hobby, flying. He was a director of Mercantile National Bank of Dallas for twenty-five years and served on the boards of Dallas radio station WRR, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary International. He helped organize and served as a director of the Middleton Advertising and the Donovan Uniform companies. He established a scholarship for the Methodist Children's Home in Waco. He retired from business in 1954. He died on January 15, 1988, and was buried at the Baird family ranch in Johnson City.

Austin American-Statesman, January 16, 1988. Dallas Morning News, January 19, 1988. Johnson City Record-Courier, December 18, 1975. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Dorothy Baird Mattiza, “Baird, Roland Winford, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
October 5, 2020

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