|Birth: ||Sep. 5, 1918|
|Death: ||Mar. 8, 2007|
Retha Baxter was my dear, sweet aunt. This is her touching obituary written by her son, Billy.
Today the daunting task of telling you about the death of my dear mother, an angel that lived and walked in my life has fallen upon me. My mother, Retha Mary (Van Allen) Baxter, age 88, departed from this life on the eighth of March, 2007. Her eyes have closed in the cold grip of death and God has gained another angel while I have lost one.
At this moment, as I attempt to write this obituary, my life has been covered by a dark cloud, my heart is broken and I am crying from the depths of my soul. This event is so overwhelming. I have lost many people in my life, but never my mother. I know it is difficult and perhaps impossible to fully explain the depths of the pain and sorrow at this time in my life. It does cause tremendous pain to lose someone that only thought of my well being and never betrayed me, or anyone in her family.
However, I am at peace in my heart with her passage. I believe each of us has a mother that has brought unique and precious gifts into our lives. Most mothers, if they could, would tell each of their children that they were the masterpiece of their lives. I know that my mother felt that way about me and all of her children. She was always telling me how we were a wonderful blessing and comfort to her. Then she would tell me how much she admired my love for her (I did love her). At times, when she was holding me, she would tell me that I was more than she deserved. In retrospect, she was more than I deserved. She was the legend and hero of my life. She was the brightest treasure that God put before me, and it was upon her shoulders that I cried, not only as a child, but as a man too! How great she was!
As the crises of old age overtook her, I was privileged to watch in admiration as she went through the physical and mental changes that were devastating her life. She was a true warrior and at times, when I was holding her and crying, she would tell me to be brave because everything would be alright, but I knew it would never be alright that way again. Her life was ebbing slowly away and I was losing her. She would often tell me to hold her love in my heart forever and to forgive her for her failures. If she had failures, I loved her enough not to notice. Afterall, she was my mother and in my eyes, she was perfect in all ways. I never saw her walk on water, but she could skip stones on the surface of a pond with the best of them and that was good enough for me! All I know is that a flower has truly fallen from the tree of life! My mother's death is not a betrayal in this life, instead it is the fulfillment of a journey that was intended. One afternoon many decades ago, I ended up on the working end of a peach tree switch. My mother was punishing me for being mischievous. As the blows fell upon me and I was squealing like a stuck pig, I noticed that something was wrong! I looked up and my mother's face was contorted with pain and she was crying. She was spanking me, yet she was in tears! Later that day, I told my dad about mother crying. He explained the old tale about "this is going to hurt me more than you." It was then that I understood. She loved me!!! After that day, I always made sure that my father's hand was on the non-working end of that switch. Afterall, I did not want her to love me too much. My father, with a smile on his face and me with tears in my eyes had many adventures down that road in life. He was trying to build a man from the bottom up while my mother was trying to build a man from the top down. I believe that everyone was happy in the end. My mother was the heart of the family with a head and my father was the head of the family with a heart. I was the only one with a sore behind. As I look back on those days, I know I deserved everything that came my way. I learned through a smile and a set of crying eyes that they both loved me. I will never truly understand, but those of you with a wonderful mother like mine will agree with the following statement: "I am grateful for the special gifts God has sent my way and I thank you Lord for my mother; she was the best and most beloved gift of them all." The touch of my mother's hands is gone forever, but her gentle love will remain in my heart until the end of my days. "Mother I will never forget what I owe you. Even though it is a debt that can never be repaid, I want to thank you anyway! Thank you, mother, I thank you for it all! I love you and I did not want you to go. However, you are gone and I will miss you dearly. Hopefully, with true faith and the passage of time, I will embrace you again. Mother, have fun in heaven." Love always. . . your son, Bill.
Retha Mary (Van Allen) Baxter was born on September 5, 1918, at Lick Creek, Arkansas, and died on March 8, 2007 in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren and was preceded in death by her husband and a son. Her legacy is that she was a loving wife, a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and caring friend to all. What more could one ask for? Finally, I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to the kind and compassionate staff of Woodland Hills in Jacksonville for their loving care of my dear mother in these last few years of her life. I want them to know that it has and will always be a great comfort to me that I entrusted her to them, as well it will be to recall the way that one by one, the individual members of the staff came to me baring their own heavy hearts and sharing with me a bit of her life there with them and what having known her, each in their own way, leaves with them. And so my dear family, that hardly I know well, but trust that in God's time, I will, I say to you that we have done it. We have seen her through.
This was truly an awesome experience though my mother was not able to fully understand, I believe in all my heart she felt the kindness and love all the staff here had in their hearts for her. I owe all of you a lifelong of gratitude for making my mother's last years be the best they could ever be. We love you all.
The funeral service will be at 10:00 A.M., Saturday, March 10, 2007 at the Roller-Drummond Funeral Home Chapel (501) 455-5800. Interment will be in Pinecrest Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Friday at the funeral home.
William Garret Van Allen (1886 - 1980)
Effie Elizabeth Kenedy Van Allen (1890 - 1919)
Jacob Samuel Baxter (1914 - 1980)*
Ronald Benjamin Baxter (1953 - 1978)*
Ruby Van Allen Wright (1911 - 1994)*
Harry Van Allen (1913 - 1916)*
Charles Marion Van Allen (1917 - 2005)*
Retha Mary Van Allen Baxter (1918 - 2007)
Wilmoth Maxine Van Allen (1920 - 1924)**
Pinecrest Memorial Park and Garden Mausoleum
Created by: Pam
Record added: Jan 06, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32696821