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Esther L. Baxter

August 1st, 1923 – July 19th, 2020

Esther L. Baxter, 96, formerly of Kankakee, Illinois, passed away on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at Merkle Knipprath Nursing Home in Clifton, Illinois. She was born on August 1, 1923 in Browning, Illinois, the daughter of Howard and Inez (Robertson) Bader. She married Donald B. Baxter on June 27, 1948 at the Bader Christian Church in Bader, Illinois. He preceded her in death on April 29, 2000.

She was also preceded in death by four brothers, Donald, Howard, Harold, and Wendell, five sisters; Margaret, Mary Wilma, Anna, Wanda, and Hazel, and an infant child.

She is survived by her four sons; George (and Pam) Baxter of Sunny Valley, Oregon, Dr. Bill (and Jayne) Baxter of Rockford, Illinois, John (and Jean) Baxter of Bourbonnais, Illinois, Rick (and Kim) Baxter of Champaign, Illinois, her two daughters, Mary Wilson of Clifton, Illinois and Lisa Baxter of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, 20 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren.

Esther graduated from Beardstown High School and attended Western Illinois University. She began a career in education by teaching in a one room school house near Sheldon's Grove, Illinois. She loved to tell her kids that she often rode to work on horseback. She continued working in education for many years until finally retiring from Kankakee School District in Kankakee, Illinois.

A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Esther attended Grace Baptist Church in Kankakee and was an example to us all of a kind and loving Christian woman. Her grandchildren loved to cook with Esther in her kitchen, and her recipes for caramel apples and fresh salsa are legendary.

Graveside services will be held on Saturday, July 25th at 2:00 pm at the Houston Cemetery, 15282 Vermont Road, outside of Rushville, Illinois. Pastor Matt Haberman will officiate. Everyone is asked to wear a mask for safety. There will be no public visitation at this time. A memorial service and dinner in Esther's honor will be planned at a later date to be announced. Memorials may be given to the Merkle-Knipprath Nursing Home in Clifton, Illinois and sent to Shawgo Memorial Home in Astoria, IL at PO Box 525, Astoria, IL 61501.


July 23rd, 2020

My condolence to the family Ms. Baxter was a beautiful person. Home maker Sharon Whittenburg...

July 23rd, 2020

I grew up across the alley from Mrs. Baxter. She was always very kind to me. She always let me use their basketball hoop and treehouse, and I remember her making good popcorn on the 4th of July. I am very sorry for your loss.

Mark Williams