Private Graveside Service
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
2:00 PM EST
Rosedale Memorial Park
While the service was for family only due to COVID restrictions, you can watch a recording of the service by clicking on the Live Stream link above
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Renovate and Renew Building Project
2929 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
Evelyn Baxter was a wonderful, caring, and compassionate wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Never one to remain idle, Evelyn was an active woman who enjoyed serving others. Her love for her family was evident in her ability to care for them over the years. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her family to treasure for generations to come.
The year 1923 was known for its economic prosperity. The nation was seeing large scale industrial growth and the world’s first portable radio was developed. Time Magazine made its debut and Jazz music was exploding. During a promising time in our nation’s history, John and Minnie (Mol) Dekker eagerly welcomed home their newborn daughter, Evelyn June, on August 25, 1923, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The oldest of four children, her birth brought her parents great joy and happiness.
Growing up on the northwest side of Grand Rapids, Evelyn lived a typical childhood of the times. She and her younger siblings were close and spent time each summer enjoying the outdoors and swimming with their cousins at a family cottage on Hess Lake. The family home on Bristol Avenue featured enough land to have a goat, a chicken coup and a substantial vegetable garden.
Evelyn was raised with a strong Christian faith and the family attended Broadway Christian Reformed Church which later became Westview Christian Reformed Church. She remained a member of this church her entire life and was the oldest surviving member of the original church at the time of her death. Evelyn gave so much of her time and resources to her faith community. She volunteered as a Calvinette leader when her daughter, Lynne, was young, and through the years helped on various committees and enjoyed serving the needs of the church. She made regular stops at the local nursing homes, visiting the many residents and volunteering in the laundry.
Evelyn graduated from Union High School and shortly thereafter met Ronald Baxter who would steal her heart forever. They were married in her family home on October 2, 1942. Evelyn lived with Ronald at two Army bases in the south before he was sent overseas to fight in the Philippines during World War II. Upon his discharge, Ron and Evelyn took up residence very near her parent's home. Their joyfully welcomed their first child, Randy Jay, on August 24, 1948.
As their family grew, Ronald and Evelyn bought some property on Collindale Avenue NW. They spent all their spare time working with their builder to finish their forever home. Their second child, Lynne Kay, was born on March 15, 1958. Evelyn relished her role as both a wife and mother. A meticulous house cleaner and superb organizer, Evelyn managed her home well and always knew exactly where to find things. She enjoyed working outside and loved to pull weeds and garden keeping things well maintained.
Evelyn enjoyed sewing and often made homemade clothes and quilts. She loved to read, play cards and games and assemble jigsaw puzzles. Evelyn held a wide variety of special traditions and pastimes. One of her favorite hobbies was to go camping. With a love of the west coast of Lake Michigan, the Baxter family would spend time each summer at Ludington State Park where they hiked, swam and fished.
Sadly in 1987, Ron was diagnosed with cancer and he died at end of that year. Evelyn was hit hard by the loss, yet continued on with her independence. After Ron's death, Evelyn secured a seasonal lot at Laman's Landing Campground on Upper Hamlin Lake in Ludington. She traveled to the trailer in the summer months spending time with a group of friends, hosting her sisters and children and grandchildren. She continued this summer tradition until she was almost 90 years of age.
Evelyn was never afraid to drive or learn new things and resided in her home up until just a few short weeks before she died. Faithful and loving, she will be sincerely missed by all who knew and loved her. May her loved ones reflect back on her beautiful example of living life to the fullest and giving selflessly over the years.
Evelyn June Baxter, age 97, of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on December 4, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald Baxter, and by her daughter-in-law Mary. Evelyn is survived by her son, Randy Baxter; daughter, Lynne (Gary) LaForest; grandchildren, Matthew (Becky), David, Mark and Paul Baxter; Jason (Michelle) Rockwell; great grandchildren Benjamin and Rachel Baxter, Samantha Rockwell; brother, Wayne Dekker; and sisters, Dorothy Meulendyk and Faye (Henry) Mellema; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A private service will be held with interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. For those who wish, memorial contributions to the “Renovate and Renew Building Project” at Westview Christian Reformed Church would be appreciated. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com