Lion Bill Baxter Keeps Moving Forward
Like so many people who are aging successfully, Lion Bill Baxter believes in “keeping the blood circulating.” At eighty years old, Lion Bill continues to exercise, running and walking to keep his athletic body in condition.
In fact, Lion Bill was a highly successful high school athlete. Born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1933, he won a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Idaho. He played fullback and majored in physical education.
Lion Bill readily admits that he is not academically gifted and that he sometimes struggled in his college classes, but the chairman of the university’s P.E. department was determined that Lion Bill would graduate, and he did.
After graduation, Lion Bill took a job teaching physical education and coaching at Couer d’Alene, Idaho. From there, he moved on to teach and coach first at Riddle, Oregon, and later Glendale, Oregon. But, Lion Bill had begun to think he might be more successful in the real estate business, where both his father and brother made their living.
So, having decided that Eugene would be a great place to sell real estate, Lion Bill went to work for Brunton Real Estate in Eugene and remained there for three years until striking out on his own. He has continued to be a real estate broker through the present time. Although he still holds a license, he considers himself semi-retired.
Lion Bill is a twice-married widower. He and his first wife, Betina, divorced after twenty-four years of marriage. She is the mother of Lion Bill’s three children, a son who lives in San Diego; a daughter in Boulder, Colorado; and a daughter here in Eugene. Today Betina is remarried and she and Lion Bill are on good terms.
Bill’s second wife, Linda, passed away from cancer after being married to Lion Bill for twenty-two years.
Lion Bill came to our club sponsored by a man named Vern Kilpatrick, recently deceased, whom he greatly admired. Bill saw Vern as a truly good man and one worthy of following. Bill joined Lions because he believes in service to others and saw Lions as a wonderful way to deliver those services.
A deeply spiritual man, Lion Bill believes that people cannot overcome serious adversity unless they are willing to acknowledge a higher power. He talks openly about the fact that he is a recovering alcoholic, sober for the last twenty-four years. He is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and feels that it turned his life around. He also attends church regularly.
As noted, Lion Bill’s life today includes regular exercise. He deplores what he calls “spectatoritis,” the numbing tendency of people content to watch others perform instead of actively participating. He even covered up the TV in his house for a while because he realized that sitting down to watch it always depressed him rather quickly. He would rather be up and about, doing something active.
As a Lion, Bill has always excelled in raffle ticket sales. If you have worked with him, you know he has a natural ability to talk to strangers, make them smile, and get them to support the Lions. He has also worked in eyeglass collection over the years.
When Bill first became an EDLC Lion about twenty years ago, the club was just transitioning from a men-only club to a club that included the fairer sex. His reaction? “I like the women!” he says. With his winning smile and gracious manner, it’s safe to say that the women like him as well.
Like so many members of our club, Lion Bill is a wonderful role-model for how to age gracefully and successfully: keep moving forward, give time and effort to others, and stay attuned to the spiritual dimension of life.
Lion Bill Baxter is still running his race.
Story by Lion Jim Newton