October 9, 2011

Robert Baxter of Cleveland - Sunday's Obituary

       Know to hundreds of patrons of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Robert Cleeland Baxter, who died Saturday night at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Margaret Twigg, 900 Vineshire Rd., Cleveland Heights, had been a guard and stationary engineer at the Museum 25 years. Services will be Tuesday, 1 p. m. at the Merle Owen & Son Funeral Home, 16049 Euclid Ave., East Cleveland. Burial will be at Garrettsville, Ohio.
       Born in Belfast, Ireland, 82 years ago, Mr. Baxter was an engineer in the British Merchant Marine as a youth. He came to America in 1908, and worked in various parts of the country as a lumberjack and section foreman. In 1920, he came here, joining the Museum staff. He retired in 1945, and had made his home with a son, Harry Baxter, in Garretville (sic). His son died in 1950. He was a member of Welsh Westminster Presbyterian Church for 33 years.
        Surviving are another daughter, Mrs. Agnes Jones of Florida; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His wife, Mrs. Annie Gawne Flack Baxter, died shortly after his retirement from the Museum.

My mother-in-law gave me this unidentified newspaper clipping, probably snipped out of a Cleveland area paper. Robert Baxter was her paternal grandfather. Robert was the son of Henry Baxter and Elizabeth Cleeland, from whom he received his unusual middle name. Born September 28, 1874 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he married Annie Flack in Belfast in 1896. As the obituary states, he immigrated to America in 1908, but she didn’t come over with their children until 1921. I can’t help but wonder why they stayed apart so many years, although I realize overseas travel was extremely risky during the Great War. My mother-in-law lived with her grandparents during the Depression and remembers him working as a guard at the Cleveland Art Museum. Robert died October 22, 1955 in Cleveland.

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