Baylor Mourns Passing of Longtime Friend and Alumnus Joe Baxter

Feb. 24, 2014
Joe Baxter, BBA '49, was remembered for his "generous spirit" and "passion for Baylor University."

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

WACO, Texas (Feb. 24, 2014) - Baylor University is mourning the passing of faithful friend and alumnus Joe E. Baxter of Waco, who died Feb. 22 at his residence.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco with Dr. Bill Hinson and the Rev. Dorisanne Cooper officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

"Joe's generous spirit and enthusiastic support of Baylor University and our students have been sources of inspiration and encouragement, and we grieve the loss of this dedicated member of our Baylor family," said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. "We are indeed grateful for Joe's legacy at Baylor, and our hearts and prayers are with Bessie and her family during this season of sadness."

A native of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Baxter served in the United States Merchant Marines during World War II, supporting the invasions of North Africa and Normandy. Following service to his country, he enrolled at Baylor University where he graduated in 1949 with a BBA in accounting. While at Baylor, he met his wife, Bessie, with whom he shared 65 years of marriage. Following graduation, he served as business manager at First Baptist Church of Waco for 10 years.

In 1963, Baxter began a distinguished career of 50 years with Success Motivation Institute where he developed and supervised the international marketing organization for the company, which distributed its products in more than 60 countries. During that time, the Baxters were able to visit all seven continents and more than 100 countries. As a result of contacts with Baylor missionaries in those countries, the Baxters became interested in helping support missions and the training of missionaries.

In addition to his love for family and his strong Christian faith, the Baxters supported Baylor University in numerous philanthropic areas, including Truett Seminary, Hankamer School of Business and Baylor athletics, and regularly attending all sporting events. In addition to endowing several student scholarships in those areas, they supported the Discovery Center, the Highers Athletics Complex and Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, Truett Seminary and Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. Baxter was an enthusiastic early supporter of McLane Stadium, pledging his support before plans for the new on-campus football stadium were even finalized.

"While Joe was the consummate business professional, his real passion was Baylor University," said Terry S. Maness, DBA, dean of the Hankamer School of Business. "Joe and Bessie would be seen at most Baylor athletic venues, but they were also avid supporters of various academic programs. In fact, I could always count on seeing Joe and Bessie at our homecoming activities in the business school as well as their attendance at many of our special events and speakers. They were not only there to support our program, they were also there to learn something new. The Hankamer School of Business and our students are the beneficiaries of their generosity."

As a result of their faithful support of the University, the Baxters were recognized in the Medallion Fellowship with the James Huckins Medallion and as charter members of the Old Main Society.

Baxter was preceded in death by his parents; five siblings; and grandson, Chris Connally.

He is survived by his wife, Bessie Baxter, of Waco; a daughter, Vickie Connally and her husband, David, of Rockwall; a son, Jody Baxter and his wife, Cynthia, of Santa Cruz, Calif.; three grandchildren, Shawn Connally, Danu Schoeck and Atea Baxter; a sister in Tennessee; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Joe E. Baxter Sr. Endowment Fund in the Waco Foundation, The Hankamer School of Business Endowed Scholarship Fund in the name of Joe E. Baxter Sr. or The George W. Truett Theological Seminary designated for the Endowed Scholarship Fund in the name of Joe E. Baxter Sr. (all in c/o Baylor University) or a charity of choice.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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