William Edward Baxter Dad was born in Chicago on June 8, 1925 to Olga and Nelson Baxter, and passed away July 22, 2018 with family by his side. He grew up in Peoria, Illinois, where he was very active in his school and community, including the Peoria American Legion drum and bugle corps and the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout in 1940. He graduated from Peoria High School in 1943. Dad enlisted and proudly served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1943-1946 with deployment to England and France. After the war, he attended Yale University (Silliman College) and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Following graduation from Yale in 1950, Dad worked for General Foods Corporation in New York City. While living in New York he enjoyed his membership at the Yale Club, and would happily return there over the years whenever he was in the city. He then moved to Tacoma to join his uncle in business at Tacoma Plumbing Supply, founded in 1927 and renamed United Supply Company in 1960. He was president and director of the company until his retirement. Shortly after arriving in Tacoma, Dad met and married Janice Nye in June 1955. Together they made a wonderful home for their children Bill, Jr., Ann, and John, and they had 58 loving years together. Community service was always an important part of Dad's life. He served on many boards, including the Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA, president of the Tacoma Area Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council of Puget Sound, the Association of Washington Businesses, United Way of Pierce County, Pierce County Medical Association, United Mutual Savings Bank, and Security Pacific Savings Bank. He was especially honored when asked to join the board as a trustee of the Frank Russell Investment Company, Russell Investment Funds. He served in many capacities for the Boy Scouts Mount Rainier Council (now Pacific Harbors Council) including Assistant Scoutmaster. He was also on the Council Executive Board serving as District Chair and Finance Chair. Dad became Vice-President then Council President, serving twice from 1970-72 and from 1981-82. He received recognition for his service to Scouting by being presented with the Silver Beaver Award in 1971 and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1982. In recent years, he was an advisor and enthusiastic supporter of the Tacoma Sea Scouts. Dad was a 62-year member and past president of Tacoma Rotary Club #8, and he truly lived the Rotary motto "Service Above Self." We are grateful to the members and staff of Rotary #8 for honoring him at their August 23rd meeting. He enjoyed memberships in the Sons of the American Revolution (70 years), the American Legion (WA Post 2; 28 years), the Tacoma Rose Society (board member), and was a longtime member of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, serving as both a deacon and an elder. Being an avid reader with a keen interest in American history, Dad enjoyed books on the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I & II, Lincoln, Churchill, and Eisenhower. Other pastimes included reading stories to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, gardening, keeping orchard mason bees for his apple and plum trees, travel, writing personal notes to friends and family with his favorite fountain pen and distinctive handwriting, starting each day with the Wall Street Journal, Hobie Cat sailing, and fly fishing. Dad was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jan, his brother Nelson ("Bud") Baxter, his parents, and his uncle Chauncey Baxter. He is survived by his children Bill, Jr. (Laura), Ann, and John, his granddaughters Jacqueline Baxter and Katherine Biagi (J.C.), his great-granddaughters Ariana and Francesca Biagi, his sister-in-law Nancy Baxter, nephew Tom Baxter (Jane), nieces Barbara Baxter, Jane Gardner, Martha Subia (Steve), and Louise Russell (Cory), step grandchildren Erin Bryant (Casey) and Joshua Bashline (Kristi) and their families, and many grand-nieces and grand-nephews. We thank the staff at Tacoma General Hospital for the highly professional and compassionate care they provided to Dad. Following his request, a private service for family, with military honors, was held in August at Mountain View. Gifts of remembrance may be sent to the Youth Marine Foundation (Tacoma Sea Scouts), 820 East D Street, Tacoma 98421; the Tacoma Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 1777, Tacoma 98401; or Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 901 North J St., Tacoma 98403. To provide an opportunity for those who knew him to share their memories and celebrate him, a memorial reception will be held on Friday, September 14th, from 2-4pm at Immanuel Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 901 North J Street (entrance on 9th St).
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Sep. 9, 2018.