Edwin Dean Baxter was born to Roy and Jessie Amber (Clark) Baxter on September 10, 1928 in Elk City, Oklahoma. His brother Gene was 4 years older, and the two quickly became friends and playmates. The summer before Dean entered high school, the family moved to Friona, Texas. Dean graduated from Friona High in 1946 and on December 1, 1946 he married Ena Yvonne White.
Dean and Yvonne accepted the Lord as their Savior and were both baptized that winter—In a horse trough!! They spent the next 58 years together as members of the Church of Christ, serving God and showing God’s love to others.
Dean began his carpentry career in Friona, Texas under the guidance of his father-in-law Henry Gordon White, while continuing to work on the family farm. Dean and Yvonne’s lives as vagabonds began in 1948 when they moved to a dryland farm in Bristol, Colorado and it seems like every new town brought a new boy to live with them! Rick was born while living in Bristol, in 1949 and the next move took them to Albuquerque, NM where Dennis was born in 1951. They headed back to the farm at Bristol in time to have Gordon in 1953. 1955 found them moving to Wichita, KS where Jerry rounded out the quartet in 1956. While in Wichita, Dean worked for Frontier Chemical Co. and continued using his construction skills doing dry wall work. He helped rebuild the town of Udall, KS after it was completely destroyed by a tornado.
In August of 1960 the family moved to an 800 acre farm and ranch in Rye, CO. This was where Dean groomed his love of the land and livestock. Every morning he would either saddle up his horse or RUN on his own feet down through the canyon to check the cows before he left for his “real” job—as a private contractor with his brother Gene. Dean was a rancher at heart and loved that place and the work.
After Rick graduated high school, the Baxter family moved in September of 1967 to La Plata county and never left. They lived in Bayfield, Ignacio, Durango and countless other places in the county. Dean worked for the Southern Ute tribe teaching building trades that 1st year to adults. Ignacio School District absorbed that program and he began teaching the building trades classes to high school students. While at Ignacio High School, he coached Track and JV Football from 1968 through 1973. Dean coached all 4 boys in track and field. Rick as a parent/coach in Rye and the other 3 at Ignacio. 3 of the 4 boys held school records and were state champions, a testament to Deans coaching abilities. Except for the one boy that will remain nameless.
In 1973 Dean started selling Capp homes and back into construction he went. His craftsmanship can be seen throughout this county. One of the greatest examples of his work can be found at the Historic Strater Hotel where Dean and sons Rick and Gordon, re-created the original woodwork, while refurbishing rooms. Another location that displays his and Ricks handiwork is the beautiful chapel at the Bar D Chuckwagon. That’s the location where Dean spent countless hours, making friends from all over the world that visited the Bar D. Dean loved to visit with people, and they loved him.
Dean worked in construction until 2008, when construction bottomed out. At 80 years old he became a greeter at Walmart and continued until he was 82 showing us the meaning, of WORK ETHIC! He has been our greatest example of a Godly man.
The family tells how he could hold a broomstick with both hands and jump through it. And how he could stand flat footed and kick the top of a door jam. He sang with an incredible Bass voice, and with Yvonne and the 4 boys, car rides became a full choir! Dean would thrill the boys with his love for yodeling. He could yodel to any Country song that came along. They spent countless hours singing as a family and that tradition continues today. Even with failing memory and health the last 8 years, Dad still knew the words to the songs and would sing along.
Preceding Dean in death are his wife Yvonne, his parents Roy and Amber, Father and Mother-in-law Henry Gordon and Laura White, Brother Gene Baxter, and grandson Courtney Dean Baxter.
Surviving Dean are his 4 boys: Rick (Claudia), Dennis (Karen), Gordon, all of Bayfield, and Jerry (LaVerna) of Dove Creek, Colorado; 11 grandchildren, 42 Great grandchildren (plus one on the way) and 19 great, great grandchildren; 1 sister-in-law Wilma Baxter of Colorado Springs, CO and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Ignacio H.S. Athletic Depart., Ignacio High School, Attn: Athletic Director, P.O. Box 460, Ignacio, CO. 81137.
A service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the Church of Christ, 2011 Bayfield Pkwy, Bayfield.