Vernon Eugene Baxter(1928 - 2012)

Spokane, Washington

Vernon Eugene Baxter

Vernon Eugene Baxter, 84, passed away peacefully Wednesday, July 25, 2012, surrounded by his family at his home in Spokane, WA. Vern was born a leap year baby, February 29, 1928, in Hanford.

He grew up in Salinas and graduated from Salinas High School. He received a scholarship to play football at the University of Idaho where he became a standout offensive center. At the end of his senior year, he caught the attention of the NFL Chicago Cardinals, and was offered a role on the 1952 team. However, that opportunity had to wait as he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Vern served at the Fort Ord base and played Offensive Center for the Fort Ord Warriors football team, winning the national championship in 1953. That team became the first in Fort Ord history to go undefeated at 13-0. At the end of the war, he then went on to play football with both the Chicago Cardinals and Chicago Bears.

Vern returned to Salinas and taught high school for 33 years, retiring in 1987. He was well loved by his students, earning favorite teacher of the year for 20 consecutive years. That achievement was very special to him. Vern was the Athletic Director at North Salinas High School, and coached many sports teams. His leadership resulted in Wrestling, Basketball, and Cross Country champions. Vern was recently inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement.

After retirement, Vern spent time with family and friends. Forever the teacher, he modeled to everyone in his life … how to live and how to love. While he had many accomplishments in his life, Vern was most proud of being a father and grandfather. He was a great man admired by all knew and loved him. He will be missed forever!

Vern was preceded in death by his first wife, Bonnie Holmes Baxter, and his second, Mattie Ramsey Baxter.

He is survived by three daughters: Jody Bernard (Steve Bernard), Tami Pybas (Robert Pybas), Sandra Shinkle (Joe Shinkle); brothers, Marv Anderson and Merv Anderson; sister, Lorraine Harper; seven grandchildren, Erik Pybas, Evan Pybas, Drew Hastings, Adam Hastings, Jessie Hastings, Haley Bernard, Kelsie McCall (Chad McCall); and two great-grandchildren, Logan and Parker McCall.

In lieu of flowers, Vern would want you to honor his memory by spending quality time with your family, and donating to a .

A private memorial service was held in Spokane, WA.

Published in The Salinas Californian on Aug. 11, 2012