Obituaries

Larry Brooks
B: 1957-07-31
D: 2020-09-28
View Details
Brooks, Larry
Cornelius Newsome
B: 1944-09-16
D: 2020-09-26
View Details
Newsome, Cornelius
Estelle Christensen
B: 1926-05-06
D: 2020-09-26
View Details
Christensen, Estelle
Joseph Settle
B: 1942-10-01
D: 2020-09-20
View Details
Settle, Joseph
Doris Ball
B: 1924-08-28
D: 2020-09-19
View Details
Ball, Doris
Robert McKenney
B: 1949-07-12
D: 2020-09-17
View Details
McKenney, Robert
Helen Smith
B: 1938-09-24
D: 2020-09-14
View Details
Smith, Helen
George Smoot
B: 1934-04-12
D: 2020-09-13
View Details
Smoot, George
Susanne Keener-Lion
B: 1959-12-25
D: 2020-09-11
View Details
Keener-Lion, Susanne
Jessica Cruise
B: 1983-06-21
D: 2020-09-07
View Details
Cruise, Jessica
Christina Barclay
B: 1932-12-22
D: 2020-09-06
View Details
Barclay, Christina
Charles Gibbs
B: 1931-05-31
D: 2020-09-02
View Details
Gibbs, Charles
Rosalind Spratley
B: 1942-03-07
D: 2020-08-31
View Details
Spratley, Rosalind
Donald Matthews
B: 1943-04-13
D: 2020-08-29
View Details
Matthews, Donald
Milton Loving
B: 1948-02-22
D: 2020-08-29
View Details
Loving, Milton
Bernice Gaskins
B: 1926-10-24
D: 2020-08-28
View Details
Gaskins, Bernice
Christopher Ambrose
B: 1971-01-09
D: 2020-08-27
View Details
Ambrose, Christopher
Doris Sadler
B: 1947-09-15
D: 2020-08-27
View Details
Sadler, Doris
Stephen Robey
B: 1959-12-01
D: 2020-08-26
View Details
Robey, Stephen
Mary Smith
B: 1930-11-14
D: 2020-08-21
View Details
Smith, Mary
William Toone
B: 1934-07-23
D: 2020-08-18
View Details
Toone, William

Search

Use the form above to find your loved one. You can search using the name of your loved one, or any family name for current or past services entrusted to our firm.

Click here to view all obituaries
Search Obituaries
10300 Richmond Road
Warsaw, VA 22572
Phone: 804-333-3770
Fax: 804-333-0079
William Baxter

William Dee Baxter

Saturday, June 27th, 1925 - Sunday, July 19th, 2020
Recommend this to your friends.
Share via:

Sign in to the Family Interactive Login

The Family Interactive feature enhances An Amazing Life. Authorized family members can securely access their loved one's memorial website settings at any time.

Share Book of Memories with a Friend

Please enter the name and email details so that we can send your friend a link to the online tribute. No names or addresses will be collected by using this service.

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

To share your memory on the wall of William Baxter, sign in using one of the following options:

Sign in with Facebook

OR

Sign in with your email address

Your condolence has been submitted for approval. There may be a delay before posting.

Provide comfort for the family by sending flowers or planting a tree in memory of William Baxter

No Thanks

Contact Funeral Home

Please enter your question or comment below:

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

William's Tribute Fund

  •  Full Name
  •  Initials
  •  Anonymous
By continuing, you agree with the terms and privacy policy.

William's Tribute Fund

There may be a delay while processing. Please do not click the back button or refresh while a payment is processing.
Send Flowers
Guaranteed hand delivery by a local florist

Obituary

Colonel William Dee Baxter, U.S.A.F. (Ret.), age 95, of San Antonio, Texas and formerly of Richmond County, Virginia, passed away on Sunday, July 19, 2020.

Col. Baxter served in the Army Air Corps and was in the Philippines at the end of World War II, where he flew P-51 fighters in addition to many other aircraft from Australia to Korea. He then served in Japan, flying out of Tachikawa during the occupation after the war in 1946. He took an Accident Investigation Board to Kimpo Air Base in Korea after a P-38 fighter crash. After staff work in the headquarters at Feamcom, Japan he returned to the United States in 1947 to the 10th Reconnaissance Fighter Wing at Pope Field, North Carolina.

Col. Baxter was born in Uvalde, Texas, 27 June 1925 to Zetta Mae and Jason Dee Baxter. He had a brother who died shortly after birth and a sister, Zetta Beryl (Baxter) Wakefield, who married Lt. Col. Joseph Wakefield, an Army Corps pilot, in 1938.

Col. Baxter, known as “Billy” in his youth, worked on a ranch as a young teenager. He got his first time in an Aeronca C-2 aircraft at age 14 in 1939. He entered Texas A&M University as a freshman at age 16 and left at age 17 to enlist in the Army. He asked for, and was assigned to, the Army Air Corps and graduated from flight training as a 2nd Lt. Pilot, Fighter, Tactical in December 1944. He was sent overseas to the Pacific and at the end of the war was at Manila, in the Philippine Islands.

Before leaving the Philippine Islands for Japan, Col. Baxter was offered a commission in the soon to be formed United States Air Force if he chose to remain in the service and he so selected. While in Japan, Col. Baxter was in charge of processing unsatisfactory reports on all aircraft in the theater. In addition to projects on the F-5 (a photo version of the P-51 fighter) in Manila, he flew to Guam, Okinawa, and Korea to work on projects involving various aircraft such as the P-38 and P-47 fighters.

At Pope Field Col. Baxter was assigned as a flight test maintenance officer and test flew all aircraft when returned to service, after maintenance. Col. Baxter asked for and received assignment to the Air Force Institute of Technology at WPAFB, Dayton, Ohio where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering.
With a straight 4.0 average grade at AFIT, Col. Baxter was sent on to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he received a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1952.

From Ann Arbor, Col. Baxter was assigned to the Joint Long Range Proving Ground, the Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick AFB, Florida and worked on missile launches at Cape Canaveral. It was there in range safety that he worked with the first two generations of astronauts in the Manned Space Program of the United States of America. Later, he was assigned as Chief of the Range Safety Division and commander of the Joint Services Launch Site Recovery Forces for Manned Launches. Colonel Baxter worked with the representatives of the Secretary of Defense and NASA on establishing rules for manned space launches. He participated in launches at the block house by meeting with scientists such as Werner Von Brawn on the launch of the Apollo V. Colonel Baxter was the first Air Force Officer up the gantry the night astronaut Gus Grissom and crew were killed in the Apollo fire.

Col. Baxter was assigned command of the Bare Base project to develop equipment for the Tactical Air Command, and it was in that capacity that he went to Viet Nam in 1968 during the Tet Offensive. There, he flew combat missions in transport and helicopter aircraft.

Col. Baxter was awarded medals for the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Commendation with two Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, American Campaign, Army of Occupation with Japan Clasp, World War II Victory, Vietnam Service, Philippine Independence, and ribbons for Air Force longevity service with one bronze and one silver oak leaf cluster, and the Small Arms Expert Marksman. In addition, he was awarded the Army Air Corps Pilot Wings, the U.S. Air Corps Senior and Command Pilot Wings, and the Air Force Senior and Master Missile Man Badges. Colonel Baxter retired in 1972 after 30 years of service.

He leaves to cherish his memory his sons John Dee Baxter, and William Dee Baxter, Jr; his daughter, Cynthia Jane Fortney; his step-sons Doug Wallace and Gary Wallace; seventeen grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Marks Baxter.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020 at Welcome Grove Baptist Church in Warsaw with Reverend Willard Bowen officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Air Force Association, P.O. Box 1860, Merrifield, VA 22116-9636.
Read Less

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Dee Baxter, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, July 24th, 2020 | 11:00am
    When
    Friday, July 24th, 2020 11:00am
    Location
    Welcome Grove Baptist Church
    Address
    7368 Newland Road
    WARSAW, VA 22572
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Officiant
    Rev. Willard Bowen
  • Interment

    Location
    Welcome Grove Baptist Cemetery
    Address
    7308 Newland Road
    WARSAW, VA 22572
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of William here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

Private Condolence
Flowers
Provide comfort for the family of William Dee Baxter by sending flowers.
Guaranteed hand delivery by a local florist
JL

Jeanette Loser

Posted at 12:19pm
I knew "Airpalne Bill", as he was affectionly known, throught the fellowship of AA. He would tell me,"Life is lumpy, enjoy the smooth parts, nay, relish them!" He was a great mentor.
Jeanie Loser
Loading...

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Upload up to 10 images at a time, max 8MB each