unknown - February 20, 2012
Loretta Baxter, a lifelong Westport resident, departed this life on Monday Feb. 20, 2012, well along in her 94th year.
To those of us who grew up knowing her, she was raised on the farm her great grandfather owned and worked, in the house her father built. For some years after her marriage to Leo Grover Baxter of Port Henry, they raised their three children, Allen, Marilyn, and Nancy there. She will be sorely missed at the Westport Federated Church which she attended faithfully for many years. As her “duty driver” on Sunday mornings, I always marveled at the fact that she would appear at the door with a big smile on her face despite the fact that she had long since outlived her husband and two of her children. She would remind me that you “just have to get on with it,” which is what Marilyn is doing as we speak.
As with most old-time farm families, Loretta had many happy memories of growing up in Westport. Ice fishing in the winter from the shanty her mother would personally haul out onto the ice with the horse exactly the spot where the smelt would bite the best; catching bullhead in the springtime at night down at “the marsh” by the light of a huge bon fire onshore. She, her brother Franklin, and her sister, Grace Smith, all acquired a penchant for mischief from mother Della, who would, so the story goes, sneak down to that same marsh before the season opened, catch a basket full of bullhead, skin and clean them on site, and take the back way home as to avoid any game wardens.
For a woman who would have to stand on her toes to reach five feet tall, she reportedly held her own very well on the woman’s basketball team as a student at Westport Central School. In her adult years, she bowled well and regularly at the VFW in Moriah with her sister-in-law, Hazel Stevenson. She worked for many years in the kitchen of Moses Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga.
Her father drove the school bus. One day, as fate would have it, the school superintendent passed the bus and took note of the fact that Loretta, her cousin Clara Smith, and cousin Helen Stevenson were all sitting in cousin Norman Stevenson’s lap. Louis thought he might lose his job over that, but the superintendent took it in good humor, and Loretta loved to tell the story.
Condolences may be sent to Marilyn Baxter at 5068 NYS Rte. 9N, Westport, NY, 12993.