Let the memory of Herbert be with us forever.
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Herbert Baxter . We will remember him forever.
Posted by Shay Baxter on 20th January 2019
I never expected to be here today, standing in front of you. No matter how much I thought I was prepared for his death until it actually happened, I couldn’t bring myself to imagine a world without my father in it. I still can’t. When I was a child, he was larger than life. Brilliant, kind, patient, loving, the voice of reason… he was all those adjectives one could hope for in a great father. I know that I wasn’t the best-behaved of his children but that didn’t matter. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I lost that a few years ago when his illness took his memory of me, but I secretly hoped that before he died, I would have that one last time. It didn’t happen. So today is my opportunity to share with you what I wanted to tell him. One of my biggest fears has always been public speaking. For a man who listened more than he spoke and used the fewest words possible my father was amazing at it. It made me feel anxious and about to throw up; a little like I feel right now. But as a child, we had to do it in school or risk failing which as a Baxter, wasn’t really an option. So I went to my father and I asked him what to do. Now he could have told me to imagine my audience naked (which I assure you I am not) or to imagine I’m only speaking to one person in the room, but he didn’t. His advice was pretty simple ~ speak from your heart, know what you want to say and for the sake of your listeners, be brief. Historically, I don’t have a great track record at taking his advice but today I’ll try. He had one more piece of advice for me. Always start with a joke. He was the master of play on words and puns. Patiently he would wait for what he’d just said to dawn on us and then if we groaned, he’d laugh until he had tears in his eyes. I think one of his proudest moments was when his grandchildren started to do the same to him. My father was known for his quick wit and clever but really corny sense of humour. That and his blue eyes which I am certain my mother would want to be mentioned. What else do I say? Number of children? Five. Number of grandchildren? Eighteen if I’m counting properly. Number of great-grandchildren? Four unless someone has an announcement to make. Which takes me to his early life and the fact I don’t know that much about it. Growing up we did not hear a lot of stories about our father which was a little odd because we lived where he had spent his high school years. We knew he had played hockey, baseball, rugby and football for our high school because the team photos were on the wall by the office. I found out that he’d been in cadets as an officer when I happened upon a photo in the local museum. On a rare occasion, someone would begin a story with “oh… those Baxter boys…” Unfortunately, the story of some competition between my father and his younger brother George would end almost as soon as it had begun. To this day, I don’t know what my father had on all those people that kept them silent, but it must have been good. Then there was the Frontier College commercial that had us finally putting together stories of my father in a logging camp (or was it sugar bush?) and teaching English to the Finnish (or was it Swedish?) loggers as he worked alongside them. That was my father, he never boasted or made a big deal about anything he did. Which leaves me speaking about the only thing I know about, his time with us. While we were growing up, my father had a store, Baxter’s General Store to be exact. There are so many stories we could tell about that store. From birds in the kitchen cupboards to questionable plumbing, to the day lightning came out of the furnace and the draft dodgers/hippies/civil rights leaders with rather interesting income streams… That was only off the top of my head. It wasn’t until I started to think about it, wading through those memories of my father, that I acknowledged something that on some level I had probably always known. I realized that he used the store to provide outreach to many in need. He fed the hungry by extending credit often with no expectation of being repaid. He delivered news and provided phone services for those who were isolated; he was a listening ear and wise counsel for anyone who needed it. He helped establish community resources such as a volunteer fire department, supported efforts to bring a place of gathering and of worship to a community lacking one and he prayed with and for his neighbours. My father was consistently and quietly doing for others without taking any credit. It was his ministry; his gift was to use his talents and skills to help better the lives of his family, his church and his community. In his own way, he was continuing the work his father, a Baptist minister had started in that area while he was still in high school. In his children, he instilled the same strong work ethic and moral compass that served him so well. He used the store to teach us the fundamentals of customer service, math, accounting, economics and marketing. He insisted that we take practical courses such as typing in school, guided us in career paths and insisted that we could learn anything through hands-on experience, asking a lot of questions and with a little research. To help arm us for the future, he taught us transferrable skills that would enable us to earn a living, regardless of the economy. The first time I ever heard the quote, “Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime,” was from my father. We were arguing about some task I felt was too hard for me and he felt was only challenging me. I thought he was unreasonable, he thought I was being difficult. Patiently, he tried to explain to me that the loving thing wasn’t to do it for someone but rather to teach them to do for themselves. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the lesson but looking back now, I can tell you that moment shaped my life. The older I became, the more I understood the importance of what my father was trying to teach me. And on that note, I’m going to turn my attention to a few of you. Yvon, Daniel, Paul & Alain Benjamin & Amelia Isaac, Michael, Samuel, Kamran & Alia Raffaelo, Franco, Maria, Carmelina, Gabriella & Luca And Kaitlyn Let’s face it, your parents are getting old. Our ability to make the world a better place is becoming limited. For you, however, there is a lifetime stretching out in front of you. My father would tell you that you can do anything you want to with a strong will and a good book to guide you. I know because he told me that once upon a time, many, many years ago. Whenever you… Feed someone who is hungry Comfort someone in need Give charitably Volunteer in your community Stand up for that which is right against that which is wrong Do the right thing even if it’s unbearably hard Better your community through service Help your neighbour in need Mentor someone Tend to your families And above all else, Love and are kind to each other… You are carrying on your grandfather’s work. I look at you and I know that my father’s legacy is in good hands. And if you teach your children or future children as the case may be, to do the same, then he will never be forgotten. Relax, it’s not all up to you. Larry, Deborah, Marianne, James and myself still have to do our part. We still have to pass the sage words of wisdom our father gave us such as ‘always turn into the skid on black ice’ and my favourite, ‘give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves’ onto you. We need to share our childhood memories so that our father is not remembered for the way he died but rather the way he lived. My father taught me one more thing in his death. He taught me how precious life is. He gave me the gift of asking myself the big questions. Am I creating the types of connections I desire in life? Am I aligned with my purpose? Am I being the best version of myself possible? He reminded me that tomorrow is not promised and that today is the day I have for that one last hug, the last conversation, that last opportunity to say “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”. Now I’ve come to the end, except for one last thing. My father told me to always thank people for listening. To all those who joined us today to celebrate my father’s life, on behalf of my mother and our family, thank you. We have been touched by the messages and prayers. It is humbling to realize the impact my father had on the world and how gently he is remembered. And Dad? I hope I made you proud today. (His Eulogy)
Posted by Kamran Baxter on 20th January 2019
I loved you forever

Leave a Tribute