John S. Baxter Sr.

Date of Passing:

October 22, 2019

Baxter, John S. Sr., 82, of Tockwotton, East Providence, a retired elementary and middle school teacher died peacefully on October 22, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of Diane (Luther) Baxter.

Born in Augusta, Maine, a son of the late Dr. John P. Baxter and Florence (Buker) Baxter, he lived in East Providence and Pawtucket.

Mr. Baxter was a graduate of Colby College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he also received a Master of Education degree from Rhode Island College. He remained active as an alumnus of Colby College for many years and was a past President of the Rhode Island Colby Alumni Club as well as an admissions interviewer for the college.

He was a veteran of the United States Naval Reserve.

Mr. Baxter began his career in education as a fifth grade teacher at the Richmond School in the Chariho Regional School District. He also was a Vice Principal at the school.

After seven years in Richmond he was hired by the Barrington Public Schools as an intermediate grades teacher and taught in that school system for 21 years. He retired in 1989 after teaching several years in the Barrington Middle School.

He was a member or chairman of several curriculum and professional evaluation committees in the Barrington School System. He was a teaching team leader and a past Vice President of the Barrington Teachers Association.

Mr. Baxter was lifelong member of the National Education Association and NEA Rhode Island. He was appointed as the retired member of the NEA Committee on Employee Advocacy in Washington, D.C. and served in that position for several years. He was a past president of NEA Rhode Island Retired and a member of the NEA Rhode Island Executive Board.
He was a communicant of St. Margaret Church, Rumford and a member for the St. Margaret School Board.

Mr. Baxter was very active in service to his community. He was a commissioner on the East Providence Housing Authority and also a Vice Chairman on the commission. He also served as a commissioner on the city’s Economic Development Commission. As a longtime member of the East Providence Republican City Committee, he held the position of Secretary for several years. In addition to these duties, he was a member of the Bridgham Shire Homeowners Association and held the position of Secretary/Treasurer.

An avid canoeist and outdoorsman, Mr. Baxter was a Registered Maine Guide and a charter member of the Rhode Island Canoe Association. For several years he guided members on annual canoe trips along Maine and Rhode Island waterways. Another of his passions was the game of golf and he was a member of the East Providence Men’s Senior Golf League.

Mr. Baxter was well known as an actor in local community theatre productions. His involvement with theatre, span fifty years. He founded a theatre company in the 1970’s and was a guiding force in its activities for a decade. He also appeared in many productions with City Nights Dinner Theatre and the Community Players, both of Pawtucket.

Besides his wife of twenty eight years, he is survived by a son, John S. Baxter Jr. and his wife Stephanie; two daughters, Kimberly M. Baxter and Karen E. Baxter and two grandsons.
His Funeral will be held on Saturday October 26, 2019 from the W. RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside at 7:30 a.m. with a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret Church, 1098 Pawtucket Avenue, Rumford at 9 a.m. Burial with Military Honors will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Calling hours are Friday 4-7 p.m. Flowers are respectfully omitted. Contributions in John’s memory to the MS Dream Center, 155 Gansett Avenue, Cranston RI 02910 would be deeply appreciated.

Online Condolences


  1. Our condolences to Diane, his children, and other family and friends. John was an early and guiding member of the R.I. Canoe Association in the 70’s and 80’s. He helped the founding of the organization, and with many planned trips throughout Maine and R.I. We mourn his passing.

  2. My deepest condolences to the family of John Baxter Sr. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.
    Sincerely, State Representative James N. McLaughlin, District 57 Cumberland/Central Falls

  3. Uncle John:

    You are soaring the heavens in the arms of the angels. I have many fond memories of you throughout my life, your presence in my life enriched me on many levels.

    As I young child I remember each Christmas Eve, we would be woken up to find Santa Claus sitting in a chair with rosey cheeks and jolly holiday cheer ready to hand out gifts to each one of us. As I got older, I learned it was you.

    After my father’s death, you played another role in my life, you were a father image as I grew up. I remember the numerous camping trips that I went on with you, Auntie Mary, Kimberly, Johnny and Karen. You helped me to get over my fear of the water by taking me out for rides in your canoe in the many lakes in the campgrounds we went to in those days.

    I remember trips to Augusta to your Mother’s house during several holidays when I was growing up and you always made sure that I was having a good time, you always treated me like part of your family and it was much appreciated.

    When I saw you and Diane at my Mother’s services, you both showed continued interest in my life and encouraged me to write a book about my life. I wrote the book and it is in the process of being published in the coming year.

    I am thankful that I had you in my life not only as an Uncle but as a father figure who helped form my morals and values.

    May you rest in eternal peace.

    Diane, Kimberly, Johnny and Karen, please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss.

    May it help to know he is no longer suffering. May the memories you have of him help ease your sorrow in the day, weeks and months ahead and may the love you shared sustain you always.


  4. I am so sorry for your loss, Diane. I always enjoyed talking with John and sharing memories of our Colby days. He had a cheerful, lively personality, and was a great supporter of the MS Dream Center,where his dramatic readings brought enjoyment to participants. Our condolences to you and his family.

  5. Baxter family, our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  6. Karen and the rest of the Baxter family, I am so very sorry for your loss. May you find peace in the wonderful memories you have shared over the years. My heartfelt condolences go out to you all during this difficult time.

  7. Dear Diane,
    We were shocked to read John’s obit in today’s Pro Jo. Doubly shocked because just yesterday we read in the Barrington Times of your brother Carl’s passing.
    John and Richard had a connection which started over 50 years ago at RIC, when John was Richard’s cooperating teacher at Henry Barnard School, and ended with their respective careers in the Barrington School System. John set the standard of how a teacher should conduct themselves in the classroom, and how to dress! Both of them wore dress shirts and TIES for the duration of their teaching careers, an example learned from John, and hopefully set for the students.
    We remember the look of pure happiness and joy on John’s face as you descended the staircase at your wedding prior to taking your vows. Twenty eight years is a long time, but not long enough when you find your soulmate. We are so sorry for your loss. John will be missed, but he has left behind a legacy that remains in the memories of his students and colleagues.

  8. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family JB.
    Karen and Calvin Barber

  9. Our condolences to you and your family John.
    Eva, Isa, &
    Joe Burchfield

  10. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and family
    Arthur and Miriam Plitt

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