John Mitchell Baxter, 90, of Dermott, passed away on August 16, 2015.
He was a partner with his brother, Bill in the family farming business in Desha County which was founded with their father, John Baxter in the 1950s. The farm ultimately grew into a large operation, including two farming companies, a cotton gin and a fish hatchery. He also served as president and chairman of the board of Dermott State Bank between 1975 and 1995.
Mr. Baxter was a lifelong resident of Dermott. He attended Dermott High School in 1938; Chamberlain-Hunt Academy in Port Gibson, Mississippi from 1939-1940; the University of Arkansas at Monticello 1941-1942; University of Central Arkansas inConway 1945 and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in 1946.
He was in a pilot training program with the US Navy in 1943-1944 and enjoyed flying his small Cessna plane, taking trips with the kids, dog and wife as co-pilot.
Some of his fondest memories were of his time spent in Honduras in the 1950s setting up a lumber business. He also enjoyed many years in a part-time home in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the family was part of a special group of fun-loving friends. His encyclopedic memory was an oft-used resource and, whether the subject was economics or regional history, as a born raconteur, he loved to tell stories. One of his earliest memories was boarding a train headed to high ground during the Great Mississippi River flood of 1927.
Mr. Baxter was born on December 25, 1924 at Dermott and was the son of the late John Baxter and Bess Mitchell Baxter.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Baxter was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Fay Deckelman Baxter; his son, Steve and daughter, Patricia.
He is survived by his daughter, Andrea of Albuquerque, New Mexico and a brother and sister-in-law, William A. and Mary Jane Baxter of Naples, Florida.
Memorials can be made to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Cystic Fibrosis Center, at PO Box 2222, Little Rock, AR 72203 (archildrens.org) or Sunny Shores Sea Camp, PO Box 56-1109, Miami, FL 33256 (sunnyshoresseacamp.org).
A private graveside service will be held.