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Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery

10940 East Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler, AZ

OBITUARY

Darrel Eugene Baxter

June 24, 1935July 11, 2020

Darrel Eugene Baxter, 85, passed away at his residence in Chandler, Arizona on July 11, 2020. Darrel was born in his family home on the farm in Meriden, Kansas to George and Irene (Russum) Baxter, June 24, 1935. His younger sister, Alberta was born two years later. When Darrel and Alberta were in grade school, the family moved to their farm in Berryton, Kansas. Darrel attended school in Berryton through high school where as a senior he would drive the school bus and pick up students all along the way. After high school, Darrel attended Washburn University for a semester. In January of that year he and Don Bernhardt, who later became his brother in law, enlisted in the US Air Force. They did their basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. From there Darrel trained to be a jet mechanic and eventually was stationed at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas. He became a crew chief leader on the B47 Airplane with which he flew all over the world. He also served during the end of the Korean War. After his service in the Air Force, Darrel returned to Topeka, Kansas where he married Dorothy Bernhardt in 1961. Darrel and Dorothy have three daughters, Debbie, Lori and Sandy. In 1969, the family moved to Tempe, Arizona. He soon got a job as a mechanic for the Tempe Fire Department. Being avid sports fans, they quickly became season ticket holders to Arizona State football games where they had season tickets for 50 years. Darrel and Dorothy traveled to several bowl games and through the years had season tickets for basketball, softball and baseball. They also supported the Sun Devils two times at the College World Series. They loved attending ASU sporting events and made many great memories with friends during those times. Darrel eventually moved from the Tempe Fire Department to become the Equipment Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Tempe, the position from which he retired in 1997. Throughout the years Darrel and Dorothy loved attending the sporting events of their children and grandchildren. Darrel coached his daughters in softball both in Kansas and in Arizona. They were often a part of the crowd, cheering on their grandkids and traveled many places to root for them. Everyone knew Grandpa Darrel and loved getting hugs and high fives from him. Along with Grandma Dot, everyone just thought of them as their grandma and grandpa, which they loved! A favorite pastime of Darrel’s was playing golf. He was always up for playing with friends, co-workers, his kids and especially his grandsons. Darrel loved the outdoors, he and Dorothy spent many summers in Pinetop, AZ. He enjoyed traveling, playing cards, and camping with his family. An important aspect of Darrel’s story was his spiritual life. The family was charter members of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Tempe, AZ. Darrel was involved in many parts of leadership at church including being an elder, church president and usher. He and Dorothy served coffee for many years and often were the first people at church on a Sunday morning. Everyone looked forward to being greeted by Darrel and getting a warm hug from him. Even up to the week of his passing, Darrel attended men’s bible study regularly. In addition to his many church and sports activities he served on many boards and committees, including being a founding board member for Arizona Federal Credit Union. He also belonged to several Mechanic organizations, and met regularly with the retired firefighters group. One of his favorite recent accomplishments was being invited to participate in an Honor Flight for Veterans of War where he visited Washington DC. Darrel is survived by his wife, Dorothy, his sister, Alberta Flohrschutz, his daughters, Debra Koepke (Grant), Lori Blanton (Boyd), Sandra Rosenbaum (Kent), 9 wonderful grandchildren, 12 amazing great-grandchildren, and beloved nieces and nephews. With his passing he is reunited with his heavenly Father, his parents, Alexandra Koepke, and cherished family and friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Gethsemane Church or Honor Flight of Arizona. A pre-service video will begin being streamed at 8:30 am, with the funeral service beginning at 8:30 am, Arizona time. You can view the celebration of life service at church on this link: www.vimeo.com/gctempe

Services

  • Celebration of Life Service

    Friday, August 7, 2020

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Darrel Eugene Baxter

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Darleen Bernhardt

August 6, 2020

Cousin Dot, Alberta and the rest of the family:

Know that I am thinking and praying for each one of you during this difficult time. Darrel will be missed by everyone who knew him. We enjoyed visits when Dot and Darrel came back to Topeka and we had such fun going out to eat and reimniscing about old times. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless All of You!

Ron and Connie Carson

August 6, 2020

Ron and I both worked with George and Irene at Falleys in Topeka. Very sorry to read of Darrel's passing. We, too, live in AZ, leaving Topeka in 2004, and I was a Bernhardt. Seems like we have many connections and didn't know it. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Ron and Connie Carson
Queen Creek, AZ

Ronald and Nancy dMaty

August 5, 2020

Nancy and I met Dottie and Darrel when we joined Gethsemane in 1977 and the church was still meeting at Marcos de Niza high school. They were some of the first people we met, and they were so warm and welcoming to us and our girls. The church is what it is today due to the efforts of the charter members like the Baxters. Ron served on many committees and boards with Darrel and always welcomed his input. May God hold your family in his loving arms and give you His comfort. Our and many other’s prayers are with you.

Cliff Jones

August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020

It was my privilege to get to know Darrel when he joined the Tempe Fire Department as our Fire Mechanic. Darrel had many positive traits including a great background, strong work ethic, and good people skills, but his strongest was his character. Darrel was a man of the highest character who treated all people with respect and appreciation for their contributions to the work of building a good Fire Department. His easy going personality made him easy to talk to and a joy to be around. When Darrel promoted to the position of Superintendent of City Fleet Services he did an outstanding job and continued to be of help to the Fire Department whenever we needed his assistance. After his retirement I always knew that when I attended an ASU Basketball Game that I would have a chance to say hello to Darrel who rarely missed an ASU sporting event. May he rest in peace.
Cliff Jones
Tempe Fire Chief - Retired

Cathie Stearly Barcia

August 3, 2020

I met the Baxters back in 1974 or 1975, camping in AZ. After 1 week of camping, we became longtime friends, even though I lived in MN, and they were in AZ. They welcomed me into their home the summer after I graduated for a visit. Mr. And Mrs. Baxter were always very kind to me. My thoughts, prayers and love go out to Mrs. Baxter, Debbie, Lori, Sandy and the rest of the family! RIP Mr. Baxter, and watch over your family!

KIM AND CECI

August 3, 2020

Coach Baxter. We (Ceci and Kim ) played on your Tempe Firefighters Team for 2 years in Jr. High with Sandy. You were the best Coach. Always patient, kind and teaching us the game of Softball as well as being team players and sportsmanship. We were Champs 2 years is a row! Loved going to Kiwanis Park and being part of your team! May you rest in peace.

Charlie Miller

August 2, 2020

Darrel hired me at Tempe Equipment Maintenance as a service worker in 1987. I promoted to mechanic shortly afterwards, and enjoyed a 5 year stint at Equipment maintenance. After that, I promoted to Fire Mechanic, and he gave me much encouragement. I finished my 32 year career at the City as the Fire Mechanic thanks to Darrel's mentorship.
I owe Darrel a great deal of gratitude and am truly sorry to hear of his passing.

Bev and Lenny Byrd

July 20, 2020

We met Dottie and Darrel when we moved into the same community in Pinetop. Common interests, golf and cards gave us an instant connection. We were welcomed into the Baxter Family for so many occasions and we made the trip from Tucson too many times to recall just to spend the day.
The memory of Darrel we cherish most was sharing a meal with him. Whether it was tacos or steak the reaction was always the same. We know that Darrel is sitting at the Lord’s Table saying, “It’s the best I ever ate”.
We will truly miss him.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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