Dirk Ronald Baxter (1972 - 2017)

Obituary
20 entries
  • "A couple of months ago, reminiscing about graduate school..."
    - Heather O'Mahen
  • "It is with great sadness and shock to hear of Dirk's..."
    - Dennis/Susan Baxter
  • "In loving memory of your dear son~thinking of you and your..."
    - Vicky Jordan
  • "Condolences to the Baxter family. Please find comfort..."
    - Jamal
  • "My deepest sympathies to the Baxter families. May the God..."
The Guest Book is expired.

Dirk Ronald Baxter passed away at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 28, 2017. Dirk was born on June 3, 1972, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Colin Baxter and Joan Colarchik Baxter. After Dirk's mother Joan died when he was an infant, he was raised by his father and mother, Mary Ann Aksamit Baxter.
As the son of educators, Dirk spent his formative years in numerous rural Alaskan communities: Dillingham, Nenana, St. Mary's and Cooper Landing. Spending his childhood free time playing outside in Bristol Bay, the Interior, and on the banks of the Yukon, Andreafsky and Kenai Rivers, it is no wonder that Dirk developed an enduring admiration of wilderness and animals. He dearly loved his most recent animal companions, Roux, his cat, and Mason, his dog, who made frequent appearances in Dirk's pictures and stories. Whether walking Mason, working in his backyard or visiting a new place, Dirk regularly collected rocks and other outdoor mementos to share with others.
Dirk graduated from Robert Service High School in Anchorage, where he was a member of the varsity wrestling team. As a varsity rifle team member, he set several marksmanship records. Following high school, Dirk self-funded his higher education with summer jobs washing dishes, tying Russian River flies, working in a fish-processing plant, driving a tour bus along the Seward Highway and being a visitor's guide on the Alaska Railroad. He later became a teaching assistant and researcher at the universities he attended; his drive to excel followed him throughout his life. Dirk attended college at University of Alaska Anchorage, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Dirk then packed his worldly possessions into a notoriously unreliable 1970s era Volkswagen van that he retrofitted to be his mobile home, and drove from Anchorage to Georgia to pursue postgraduate degrees. At the University of Georgia Athens, Dirk earned both a Masters of Arts and Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. It was in Georgia that Dirk met his future wife, Karen Steadman, and they married in August 2006, at an intimate gathering of family and friends on the beaches of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
As a corporate leadership consultant, Dirk traveled the world helping companies to improve their efficiency and performance. Everywhere he went, Dirk made friends with people from all walks of life, with his easy-going attitude and insatiable curiosity. While he enjoyed new places, Dirk was happiest to travel to Montana to pick apples at the Baxter farm in Fairview and to mend barbed wire fences and construct buildings at the family ranch in Miles City, and to return to Alaska to fish the Russian River and hike at the Baxter cabin on the shores of Kenai Lake.
Along with his work, Dirk had a variety of interests and hobbies. He constantly questioned the world around him and wanted to not only teach others but to learn from them. Dirk followed in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather Cecil Baxter and several great uncles, joining the Masonic youth organization Order of DeMolay, before ultimately becoming a Freemason. He was also a member of Mensa and played the piano. Dirk appreciated physical fitness and was proud of being an instructor for Operation Boot Camp in Atlanta, which ensured energetic, early morning phone calls from Dirk to his Alaska family, who felt he did not fully appreciate the time difference between the East Coast and Alaska.
Dirk's family and friends will most remember him as a builder, lifelong learner, and teacher. Yet Dirk downplayed his own achievements and trumpeted the accomplishments of others. He was fiercely proud of his sisters and brother who, upon meeting Dirk's friends, were often surprised to discover that these new acquaintances already knew all about them. As a brother, he was a compassionate and wise ear to which his siblings turned for advice and comfort. Dirk will also be remembered for his universal kindness to others, as he jumped at the opportunity to help neighbors and strangers alike.
Dirk is survived by his wife, Karen Steadman Baxter; his parents, Colin Baxter and Mary Ann Aksamit Baxter; siblings, Colleen (Thomas) Ballard, Ann Baxter and Lee Baxter; a host of aunts, uncles and cousins from Montana and Wyoming; and countless friends from around the world.
Dirk was preceded in death by his mother, Joan Colarchik Baxter; his paternal and maternal grandparents; and three uncles. A memorial service will be held in Atlanta, in the spring, and another service will be held in Alaska in early summer. In lieu of flowers, Dirk's family asks that any memorial donations be made to Dirk's favorite charities: Alaska SPCA and Wounded Warrior Project.
As a special note to all who knew and loved him, Dirk's family is thankful for your prayers and thoughts. Dirk, a kind one and one of a kind.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23, 2018
bullet University of Georgia