Esther Baxter

CLIFTON — Esther L. Baxter, 96, of Clifton and formerly of Kankakee, passed away Sunday (July 19, 2020) at 2:18 a.m. at Merkle-Knipprath Nursing Home in Clifton.

She was born Aug. 1, 1923, in Browning, the daughter of Howard O. and Inez (Robertson) Bader. Esther married Donald B. Baxter on June 27, 1948, at the Bader Christian Church in Bader. He preceded her in death April 29, 2000.

Surviving are sons, George (and Pam) Baxter, of Sunny Valley, Ore., Dr. Bill (and Jayne) Baxter, of Rockford, John (and Jean) Baxter, of Bourbonnais, and Rick (and Kim) Baxter, of Champaign; daughters, Mary Wilson, of Clifton, and Lisa Baxter, of Stevens Point, Wis.; along with 20 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren.

Preceding her in death were four brothers, Donald, Howard, Harold and Wendell; five sisters, Margaret, Mary Wilma, Anna, Wanda and Hazel; and an infant child.

Esther graduated from Beardstown High School and attended Western Illinois University. She began a career in education by teaching in a one-room schoolhouse near Sheldon’s Groves. She loved to tell her kids that she often rode to work on horseback. Esther continued working in education for many years until finally retiring from Kankakee School District 111, Kankakee.

She was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution. She attended Grace Baptist Church in Kankakee, and “was an example to us all of a kind and loving Christian woman.”

Esther’s grandchildren loved to cook with her in her kitchen; and her recipes for caramel apples and fresh salsa are legendary.

Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25, in Houston Cemetery, 15282 Vermont Road, near Rushville. The Rev. Matt Haberman will officiate. There will be no visitation.

Memorials may be made to Merkle Knipprath Nursing Home, Clifton.

Funeral arrangements are by Shawgo Memorial Home, Astoria.

Please sign her online guestbook at

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