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J. Blake Thaxter Jr.

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J. Blake Thaxter Jr., age 94, a longtime resident of Cohasset, and a resident of Stratton, Vt., and North Palm Beach, Fla., died peacefully Nov. 19, 2012, at the home of his daughter, Deborah, with his family at his side. Born in Malden, he was the son of the late Joseph Blake Thaxter and Marian (Traiser) Thaxter, and the younger brother of the late Jeanette Traiser Bowes. Mr. Thaxter grew up in Brookline and graduated from Brookline High School. He spent many summers with his family on Cape Cod, where he was the lifeguard at Craigville Beach and won many diving and swimming awards. In high school Mr. Thaxter met and fell in love with Jayne Crowell, whom he married in 1940 and to whom he remained devoted until her death in 1992. After their wedding, Mr. Thaxter and his wife spent his senior year at the University of Michigan, where he received his B. A., Class of 1941. During college, Mr. Thaxter continued his stellar swimming career. He held a number of collegiate and national freestyle records while he was a member of the Michigan varsity swim teams that were the Big Ten and National Collegiate Champions for all four years of his tenure. After college, Mr. Thaxter joined the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country during World War II as an officer on the USS Crescent City, which saw action in the South Pacific. He never forgot the enemy torpedo that headed directly for his ship but at the last minute skipped over the hull. He remained close to his fellow shipmates for the rest of his life. After the war, Mr. Thaxter graduated from Boston University Law school and embarked upon a distinguished legal career that included serving as the first assistant District Attorney for Norfolk County, acting as a special prosecutor for the city of Quincy in a criminal investigation into cemetery fraud, and opening his own law firm in Cohasset, where he practiced for over 30 years until his retirement. For over 20 years, Mr. Thaxter served as Town Counsel for Cohasset, regularly advising town boards and serving as town moderator. He found great satisfaction in participating in town affairs, and was a founder and president of the Weymouth Junior Chamber of Commerce, the founder and president of the Cohasset Village Association, and a president of the Cohasset Rotary Club. Mr. Thaxter was always a lover of sports, and after his swimming career, he became an accomplished badminton and tennis player. For many years he was the tennis chairman at the Cohasset Golf Club, and in 1960 he was a founder and president of the Cohasset Tennis and Squash Club, one of the earliest indoor tennis clubs in Massachusetts. A few years later he founded and operated the Cohasset Paddle Tennis Club, the first paddle tennis club on the South Shore. He also loved skiing and spent many winters enjoying his home at Stratton, Vt. In retirement, he enjoyed traveling with friends, playing tennis well and golf badly, weeding his vegetable garden and taking rides with his son Jody in his motor boat, the famous "Blue Ice". Mr. Thaxter spent his life dedicated to taking care of his wife, his family, his friends, his community and anyone else who needed his help. He will be remembered as a mentor to young attorneys, a trusted advisor to his clients and friends, a tough but fair advocate, a role model to his children and at all times a consummate gentleman. He lived life to the fullest and will be sorely missed. He was the beloved husband, partner and best friend of Jayne (Crowell) Thaxter; and the devoted and much loved father of Deborah Lincoln Thaxter and Joseph Jody Blake Thaxter III, both of Cohasset. He was a special grandfather to his grandson, Daniel Thaxter Steele; his step-grandsons, Chauncey Chad Depew Steele IV and Samuel Bart Bartley Steele; and his step great-granddaughter, Corinthia Steele. He is also survived by his nieces, Terry Bergeson, Diane Bowes and Karen Beaton; and nephews, John J. Bowes Jr. and James N. Bowes. A memorial service will be held Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. at the First Parish Church, North Main Street, Cohasset, with a luncheon to follow. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Private burial in the family plot at the Hingham Cemetery will precede the service. Contributions in Mr. Thaxter's memory may be made to the Scituate Animal Shelter, 780 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Scituate, MA 02066. For his obituary, directions to the service or to share a remembrance in his guest book, please visit www.mcnamara-sparrell.com. McNamara-Sparrell Cohasset-Norwell 781-383-0200

Published in The Cohasset Mariner from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8, 2012
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