Jerry Dale Baxter
Jerry Dale Baxter, age 69, passed away Saturday, May 27, 2017 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena. He was born August 29, 1947 to Lyle and Ruth (Powell) Baxter.
Jerry had limitations, but was grateful for what he did have. In spite of health challenges, Jerry set and achieved many goals in life. He loved learning about anything and everything and did whatever took his fancy. Jerry collected things and shared them generously. He shared elk teeth and other odds and ends like a kid sharing his collection of special rocks in his pocket. Through it all, Jerry had a quirky sense of humor, and often had a poem or story to tell, or a goofy song to sing.
He graduated from Carroll College with honors in 1999, having spent majority of his last year on crutches. His diploma helped him achieve another life goal of living in Alaska. With dog Shelby at his side, he worked as a summer campground host, making friends from all over the world. He served two years as a VISTA volunteer in a literacy program. He took a sewing class and made an authentic Alaskan coat, muffs and mukluks. His hands were gnarled from arthritis, but he patiently completed it and received awards for the quality of his work.
Jerry was married to three amazing women over his lifetime. His first marriage to Carol (Batt) introduced him to the joys and challenges of parenthood, with the arrival of Amanda and Jennifer. Carol was a really good mom, and generously shared the girls with the Baxter clan after the marriage ended. His second marriage to Karla (Nordyke) brought Sam to the family, and they enjoyed hunting, camping and fishing. Jerry credited Karla for guiding him to his birthday in sobriety. His third marriage was to Brenda (Massey). Not only did they face his declining health together, they helped each other cope through devastating events in their lives.
He was extremely grateful for his 24 years of sobriety, and relied on his friends and mentors in his NA network as they helped him achieve peace and serenity. And, he was always grateful to have Jesus Christ in his life.
His father Lyle and son Sam preceded him in death. Those missing him include mom Ruth Baxter, wife Brenda Baxter, daughter Amanda Baxter, daughter Jennifer Price Kraft, brother Bruce (Janice) Baxter, brother Keith Baxter, sister Jeannene Maas, grandkids Kalan, Kourtney and Jessica, cousin Jane Martin (Alice), and many other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A brief graveside service will be held 1pm Saturday, June 3, 2017, at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena. Celebration will begin at 2pm at Clancy United Methodist Church in Clancy. Immediately following the memorial, friends and family are invited to an early dinner at the Legal Tender in Clancy, topped off with ice cream for dessert.