Robert Laird Baxter, 83, went to be with his heavenly Father on Father's Day, June 16, 2013, in Tyler. He was born on Aug. 19, 1929, in Mahanoy City, Pa., to Robert and Mary (Bertoldi) Baxter.
He is survived by his wife, Liz, of Tyler, (formerly of Miamisburg, Ohio); daughter, Jeanne (Eddie) Ivy, of Whitehouse; daughter, Ellen Bald, of Woodstock, Vt.; son, Robert Baxter, of Milford, Ohio; and son, James (Rachal) Baxter, of Arlington; his brother, William (Sonya) Baxter, of Secane, Pa.; his grandchildren, Misti (Ivy) Rowden and husband Jeremy, Matt Ivy, Andrew Baxter, Anthony Bald, Patrick Bald and Samantha Baxter; his great-grandchildren, Clay, Brett and Lane Rowden; and a boatload of loving extended family members.
Bob graduated from Haverford High School in Havertown, Pa., in 1948. After high school he worked as a ranger for the U.S. Forest Service at Hardy Ranger Station, S.D., before joining the United States Air Force in 1948. He served during the Korean War as an aircraft mechanic and crew chief on B-50 Superfortress bombers as part of the 341st Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Wing stationed at Biggs Air Force Base. In 1952, Bob was honorably discharged from the Air Force at the rank of staff sergeant. While at Biggs AFB in El Paso, he met, courted and married Elisa Yip on June 30, 1951. They were happily married for 61 years and raised four children while living in El Paso, Tyler and Miamisburg, Ohio.
In 1953, he began working for the National Cash Register (NCR) Corp. During a 36-year career at NCR, he worked as a cash register repairman, instructor and audio/visual writer/director before retiring in 1989.
Bob had a passion for antique firearms and woodworking - collecting and building many muzzle loader guns over the years. He was a member of several gun clubs including the Paso Del Norte Gun Collectors in El Paso. While living in Miamisburg, Ohio, he was a member several gun clubs including the Ohio Gun Collectors Association, the Dayton Muzzle Loading Gun Club and Simon Kenton Longrifles. He was a lifetime member of National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) and frequently attended events in Friendship, Ind. He was well known as a U.S. military historian. Following his retirement from NCR, he turned these passions into a business. He owned and operated Baxter Brass Castings, a muzzle loader parts and supply business, from 1989 to 2007.
Bob is fondly remembered for many things:
He was a voracious reader - there was always a stack of books by his chair. Rumor has it that at one point he had actually read every book in the fiction and history sections of the Miamisburg Public Library.
He was a master mechanic and carpenter - there wasn't anything mechanical that he couldn't fix or anything he couldn't build.
His Irish ancestry gave him the gift of gab - he could really tell a story and in his younger years his tenor voice could belt out a soulful version of the Irish song "Oh Danny Boy."
He loved to dance to big band music with Liz.
He always had sage words of wisdom to offer.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Houston Baxter and Mary Catherine (Bertoldi) McCloskey.
A celebration memorial service will be held at Southern Oaks Baptist Church in Tyler on Aug. 17, 2013, at 3:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to The Hospice of East Texas Foundation, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, 75701; or via their website at http://www.hospiceofeasttexas.org/pages/give/why-donate.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on July 7, 2013