A lifelong lover of animals and the outdoors, John Baxter III, 77, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home, with his beloved cat, Spring by his side, on Sunday, January 19, 2014, after an extended illness.
Mr. Baxter, the only child of John Baxter Jr. and E. Marie (Hackett) Baxter, was born February 17, 1936 in Youngstown.
He was graduated from the former South High School in 1954 where he was a member of the marching band playing alto and tenor sax, and in 1975 earned his A.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from Kent State.
Mr. Baxter joined the U.S. Navy in 1958 and was stationed in South Carolina. Missing his sweetheart, Karin Nybell, they married in Boardman on June 25, 1959, and then took up residence in Charleston. He served aboard the destroyer USS Eugene A. Green and was deployed on several Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises until 1962. They returned to Ohio in 1972 settling in Columbiana to raise their three children.
During his lifetime, Mr. Baxter worked for Fred King Funeral Home, Durham Life Insurance, owned his own One Hour Martinizing, and worked as Assistant Supervisor at the Louis Tobin Attention Center.
He found enjoyment in Big Band music and in his youth was a member of the Jack Lewis Dance Band playing the Idora Park Ballroom and many other area venues. Mr. Baxter was a member of The American Legion, Benjamin Firestone Post 290, Allen Lodge 276, Columbiana; Aut Mori Grotto; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; Al Koran Shriners, Cleveland and Youngstown Shrine Club, where he especially enjoyed cooking for their picnics.
Mr. Baxter was the keeper of many cats and dogs over his lifetime. But it wasn't until he moved to Columbiana that he became the keeper of wildlife as well. It was apparent to any visitor to his home as they stood in amazement watching the deer, geese, turkeys and raccoons wandering through the yard to get to food he faithfully provided. It was not unusual for raccoons to knock on the porch window to let him know it was time for dinner and then wait while he threw day-old bread out for them. But his greatest pleasure probably came from being a volunteer for Angels for Animals from the beginning when they still worked out of individual barns, and later as a board member.
Mr. Baxter is survived by his wife of 54 years, Karin; daughters, Susan Thompson (Philip) of Columbiana, Kristine Chismar (Edward) of Greenford; and son Robert (Merideth) of Lisbon.
He was preceded in death by his father John and mother Marie Baxter Stillings.
The Rev. Sean Myers of Jerusalem Lutheran Church will officiate at the funeral services scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2014, 11 a.m. at Warrick Kummer Rettig Funeral Home, 28 N. Main St, Columbiana. Calling hours will be Friday, January, 24 from 4-7 p.m., and one hour before the service.
Interment will take place at Lake Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Mr. Baxter's memory to Angels for Animals, www.AngelsForAnimals.org 4750 W South Range Road, Canfield, OH 44406 or to Youngstown Shrine Club, with notation for 'Hospital Transport', PO Box 302, North Lima, OH 44452.
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The family wishes to thank Grace Hospice, Visiting Angels, and all the friends who have helped during this difficult time.