She spent her youth in Denver, Colo., having a happy childhood filled with pets, which inspired her to write, “I was crazy about animals as a child.” In 1953, her family moved to College Station, Texas, where she met and married our father, Glenn Lee Baxter. They spent the first eight years of their marriage moving across the country for dad’s jobs in San Diego, Spokane, Omaha, Cheyenne, Wichita Falls and Danemora, New York, before settling in Green River, Utah in 1965. The family now consists of daughters Peggy (Jerry) Van Cleve; Bonnie (Rob) Lindgren, and Jennifer (Louis) Mueller and ten grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Mom had many interests. At an early age, she learned to sew. She shared that gift with her children, making many dresses, pajamas and doll clothes. There was rarely a Halloween carnival that one of her girls didn’t win a prize for a creative costume. She enjoyed helping the high school music and drama teachers by sewing costumes and creating set props. She used her sewing skills to upholster many an airplane seat for Redtail Aviation along with couches, chairs and a full set of pew cushions for the Bible Church in Green River.
She enjoyed many animals, but especially horses. We fondly remember her stories of using part of the grocery money to pay for her horse fees. She said dad didn’t think the horses cost “that much …” She and her friends, Jacque Jewkes and Lovell Grych Sackett, spent many hours training horses for endurance rides. She also ensured that we girls had opportunities to ride, supporting the local Saddle Pals Club. She had fun breeding Dalmatian dogs and took a chance on Great Pyrenees to guard her sheep. She entertained pigs at the farm, enjoying the antics of the piglets. We never had a problem with gift ideas, because she developed a liking to pig replicas and ended with a collection of more than 500 of those little beasties. She had more cats and dogs over the years than we can count; we recall such names as Pete and RePete, Ringo, Gerdie, Lotsa Dotsa (our first Dalmatian), Brauny, Velvet and many others. She taught us that life was a great joy when pets were born and transient when a pet would die; she explained the difference between the spirit and the soul, and in that way shared her love of Jesus with us.
Mom was the Biblical definition of “helpmeet” to dad in all his business ventures. He would get an idea and race towards it and she would hide in the background filling all the voids created by dad’s whirlwinds. She has never liked the spotlight, but is the best supporting wife in all categories. She spent many days and years helping build, paint, open and run the Chow Hound Drive In (1971-1979) as the chief bottlewasher. She then became office manager and lead bathroom cleaner at Redtail’s offices in Green River and Moab. She gratefully faded out of Redtail when more help came, and at that point she was able to do more of the things she both loved and felt were important.
Mom was raised in the era where folks felt a need to provide civil and community service. She greatly enjoyed serving as a member of the Green River Medical Center board and volunteering to help at the visitor’s center in the John Wesley Powell River History Museum. She loved answering visitor’s questions, like “Does the wind always blow like this?” to which she would answer, “No, sometimes it blows in the other direction.” She enjoyed the Green River Womens’ Club activities, Red Rock 4-Wheelers and Melon Busters Square Dancing Club, happily helping set up the annual dance on the tennis court during Melon Days.
During the second half of her life she developed her artistic talent and became a prolific painter, using oil, acrylic, watercolor, chalk, charcoal and pen-and-ink media. She submitted a piece of artwork to the Art Institute of America and won first prize, which resulted in her receiving a year’s worth of training. She mostly enjoyed the challenges and admitted that it was worth her time. She never felt her work was very good, despite the sincere praise she received from all who viewed it. She said, “Art has always been an interest, but it is fun now to produce some work that appeals to purchasers and judges.” All told, we have over 500 pieces of her artwork and she painted until the end of 2016.
The most important thing mom did in her life occurred in Price, Utah in 1964. She attended a Ladies’ Bible Study and, through the ministry of the women there, came to know Jesus as her savior and Lord. Her children and grandkids recall her faithful service to the bible church and counted on her fervent prayer and wise counsel. We know that she is now dancing on streets of gold and worshipping at the feet of her Savior. Because she shared this faith with her family, we know it will be a beautiful reunion when we see her again. May you also find Him, the One who first loved us.