DECATUR -- Jon Clark Baxter died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Decatur, on Monday, September 11, 2017.
Jon was born in Goshen, IN on May 3, 1940 to Dr. Edgar and Mrs. Neola Baxter. He graduated from Goshen High School in 1958, then went on to attend Indiana University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history in 1962. Jon continued to attend IU and earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from that institution in 1967.
Following graduation, Jon began his practice of the law in the probate department of a Chicago, IL bank. He quickly found that probate law was not to his liking, so he answered an ad for an Assistant State’s Attorney in Macon County which began a career in criminal law spanning over 40 years.
After the State’s Attorney’s office, where Jon attained the position of First Assistant, Jon went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney and also worked part-time as a Public Defender. In 2002, Jon attained the position of Chief Public Defender and spent the next six years working tirelessly to gain much needed resources for that office. His efforts earned him a commendation for his “substantial contributions in promoting equitable compensation for the Public Defenders of Illinois”.
Jon retired from private practice and the Public Defender’s Office in January 2008, after which, he was appointed to the Macon County Board. He successfully ran for re-election several times and remained a member of the Board, serving on both the finance and justice committees, until his death.
Jon’s personality was larger than life; he was the man with the big laugh. He was always ready with a joke or a prank to make sure those around him knew that life doesn’t always have to be so serious. Jon was not only a lover of classical music, he was also able to recite the lyrics to Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road. Jon was also a voracious reader, a longtime runner and member of the YMCA, and a tireless (if not always patient) cheerleader for Indiana basketball and football. Later in life, Jon studied and became quite adept at playing craps; he was able to enjoy all of his loves until the end.
Jon is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Linda, son Jon (Rachel) Baxter of Horicon, WI, daughters Laura (Brian) Hawkins, and Jennifer Haseley of Decatur, grandsons Reid and Ross Anderson, Ethan Baxter, Jackson Hawkins, Adam Baxter, Ryan Pierce, and Jensen Hawkins, brother, Tom Baxter of Sacremento, CA , niece Maria Baxter, and nephew Jack Baxter. Jon was preceded in death by his parents.
Due to Jon’s love of the Decatur Public Library, a memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm at that location. A reception will be held immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Decatur Public Library Foundation. Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Home, Decatur, is assisting the family.
The family would like to extended their sincerest and most heartfelt thanks to Jon’s friend and personal physician, Dr. Gregory Totel, who patiently served him for many years, Dr. Benjamin Esparaz and all of the staff at Cancer Care Associates of Decatur and to the wonderful individuals of Decatur Memorial Hospital’s hospice services, all of whom helped to make Jon as happy and comfortable as possible during his final days. The family would also like to express their gratitude to all of Jon’s friends who supported him during his long journey - you know who you are.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family in care of Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Homes at www.brintlingerandearl.com