BAR HARBOR — Elmer L. Baxter died quietly on Nov. 21, 2010 at a Bar Harbor health care facility after a long and full life. He was born Dec. 30, 1918, in Waterbury, Conn., son of Chester Arthur and Louisa Ayres Baxter.
He graduated from Colby College in Waterville in 1941. Elmer served as a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War, forecasting for transatlantic military flights and shipping. He was stationed in Newfoundland and Greenland, where he spent a year on the Arctic Circle and flew over the North Pole in 1952, when that was still unusual. He also served in Florida and Massachusetts.
He married Elizabeth “Betty” Sweetser in 1944. They were married for more than 66 years at the time of her death in April 2010.
After his military service he and Betty moved to Newington, Conn., where they raised three sons, grew a large garden and resided for 60 years. Elmer was employed by Travelers Insurance Co. of Hartford, Conn. for nearly 40 years. Elmer and Betty were active members of the Church of Christ, Congregational, in Newington, where he served as head usher and treasurer for many years. He wrote and acted in several Christmas plays for the church. Additionally, he served as a scoutmaster – earning and being a trainer for Wood Badge skills; was PTA president and member of Newington Conservation Commission. He volunteered to maintain a 50-mile stretch of the Metacomet Trail in central Connecticut for many years. He had a longtime passion for genealogical research, traveling to England to find the church where his great-grandparents had been married before immigrating to the United States.
Always looking for a challenge, Elmer learned Esperanto, later offering a class in it at senior college in Orono. He and Betty enjoyed many Elderhostel courses and took senior college courses to learn to speak Russian and to write poetry. He always appreciated, and often initiated, a bad pun.
Since his father was a locomotive engineer, Elmer had a lifelong interest in all things related to railroads. He had an HO layout in the attic and spent several happy summers volunteering as a conductor for Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad in Portland.
He is survived by three sons, Ledyard S. Baxter and his wife Nancy S. Baxter of Aquebogue, N.Y., David S. Baxter and his wife Katherine K. Carter of Orono and Benjamin A. Baxter and his wife Joan Loy-Baxter of Bar Harbor; four grandchildren, Joshua Baxter, Jonathan Baxter, Kyla Baxter and Alexis Baxter; one great-grandchild, Laurel Baxter; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
A memorial service will be held in the spring at the family’s convenience. Memorial donations may be sent to the memorial fund of First Church of Christ, Congregational, 1075 Main St., Newington CT 06111 or Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, 58 Fore St., Portland ME 04101.