Saying Goodbye to a beloved Past District Governor, Neal Baxter (1923-2014)
I have been asked to write a short note for our Rotary District newsletter concerning my father, Neal Baxter, and his recent passing. Many of you have known my dad and of his passion for Rotary which he has shared with me and others over the years. For those who haven’t heard, we checked dad into the hospital because of pain in his hip and lower back. It turned out that this was due to multiple fractures in that area, as the bone had been weakened by cancer that was also then located in the liver and likely the brain. We suspect this may have originated from a malignant melanoma that had been surgically removed a little over a year earlier. They knew it was close to metastasizing, but felt they had it contained. It seems highly likely that this was the origin of the cancer that had spread throughout his body. The blessing was that dad did not suffer a lot and he passed from this life peacefully, on March 30th, just 5 days after this diagnosis was delivered.
Kim Baxter, son of Neal Baxter was asked to write an article for the District 5630 Newsletter for all of those who knew and loved Neal. Kim is also a dedicated Rotarian from Club 1496, North Platte Noon Rotary Club.
Dad truly loved Rotary and all of the fine people he had met through this amazing organization. He was a Past-President and Secretary of our North Platte Noon Rotary Club and went on to be District Governor in 1985-86. He served as Team Leader of a GSE to Birmingham, England in 1988 and also represented the RI President at District Conferences in California and Wisconsin. He was chosen as a delegate to the Triennium Council on Legislation in Caracas, Venezuela in 1995. Perhaps his most memorable Rotary experience was when he and Jim Conley drove a Rotary-donated fire truck to El Paso, TX to be delivered to Rotarians from a community in Mexico who was badly in need of this fire truck. The video of this trip is priceless! Dad was also a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and believed strongly in the Polio-Plus program, partly due to the fact that he lost his only brother to polio when he was in his early teens.
Many of you have asked about my mother and I am pleased to report she is doing well, as she is a woman of amazing spiritual strength. We miss dad, but we find much to celebrate about his life and what he was able to contribute toward a better world, especially through Rotary.
Best regards to all of our dear Rotary friends,