Dale Carlos Baxter passed away peacefully at his home in Oakdale, California on May 8, 2023. He was 86 years old.
Dale was born on August 24, 1936 at home in Moreland, Idaho to Sherman C. Baxter and Leona L. (Leavitt) Baxter. His family lived on several farms in those early years. Dale and his younger brother Dean enjoyed riding around on their horse named Floss and playing with their dog, Tippy. They also became avid fishermen at an early age. Later Dale would spend many weekends fishing and bonding with his sons, Mike and Jim, on the rivers of Colorado and Wyoming. When Dale was around 10 years old the family moved into the town of Blackfoot, Idaho. Soon after, Dale’s and Dean’s baby sister Janis came into this world, the only one to be born in a hospital.
Dale attended Blackfoot High School where he played football and basketball, participated in theater, played the snare drum in the marching band, and excelled on the Speech and Debate team. He was named Outstanding Debater statewide and his team competed in the National Forensic League Speech Championships in both Denver in 1953 and Greensburg, PA in 1954. His recognition as a top debater earned him college admission in the Ivy League. Upon his graduation in 1954, he was awarded a four-year National Scholarship to Columbia University in New York!
At Columbia he joined both the wrestling team and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He placed third at the National Greco Roman Wrestling Championship Tournament in 1958. He later also wrestled for the New York Athletic Club. During the summers Dale worked as a bus tour guide and was able to travel to National Parks, Las Vegas, and other popular destinations across the U.S. He later enjoyed sharing all the knowledge he gained as a tour guide with his own family during their frequent road trips across the country. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/International Relations from Columbia in 1958. He then went to Stanford Law School for one year, did some student teaching at UC Berkeley, and then returned to Columbia University.
On November 3, 1963 Dale married Sandy Stewart at the Church of Notre Dame near Columbia University where they held their wedding reception. They briefly lived in Queens before moving to Syracuse, NY where Dale started his career as Executive Director for Junior Achievement. Before accepting his position in J.A., he briefly worked for Ford Motor Company where he was Supervisor of the Ford Pavilion Magic Skyway Ride at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. His parents travelled to New York from Idaho to visit their new granddaughter, Carolyn, and experience that iconic World’s Fair. While working the Magic Skyway, Dale got to shake hands with Mr. Walt Disney!
Dale and Sandy had four children: Carolyn was born in NYC, Mike and Jim were born in Syracuse, and Amy was born in Denver. He encouraged each of his children to pursue education and sports, and passed on to them his love of music through singing on those road trips, playing the piano, attending musical theater, and singing in piano bars. He also volunteered his time as an Assistant Wrestling Coach at Metropolitan State College in Denver.
As Executive Director, Dale ran successful J.A. Programs in Syracuse, Denver, and then San Francisco. He was instrumental in expanding and integrating smaller operations, securing a major grant from the Coors Foundation, to bring J.A. programs to more students across Colorado and Wyoming. After his leadership in San Francisco, Dale worked for J.A. International in the mid ‘90s, helping to establish educational programs in the newly independent Russian States. He had many interesting stories about his travels to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other former Soviet Republics. Sandy and Amy were able to meet him for a vacation in Switzerland after one of his trips!
Dale and Sandy moved from the East Bay Area to Oakdale, CA in 2000. After retiring from J.A. Dale worked for several years as Director of Fundraising at the Contra Costa Child Care Council. In retirement he and Sandy took an Alaskan Cruise and enjoyed visiting their children and grandchildren. He kept busy at home analyzing college and professional sports statistics. He was pretty good at picking winners!
Dale is survived by his wife, Sandy, along with his children and grandchildren: Amy and Stan Jones, Jim Baxter, Mike and Mydzung Baxter, Jeremy, Jaimie, Jimmi, Jennifer, and Buuloc, Carolyn and Mike Martinez, Kim, Ray, and Matt. He is also survived by his brother Dean, sister Janis, and his nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A Celebration of Life will be held on June 10, 2023 at the Oaklawn Memorial Park in Oakdale.
The Oakdale (Calif) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
May 17, 2023