Thomas E. Baxter, age 76, died at home on Friday, October 18, 2013, surrounded by his loving family and constant companion, a maltese named "Mac".

He was born on August 5, 1937, in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, to Eloy T. Baxter and Clarice M. (Nelson) Baxter. He was a 1955 graduate of Edgewood High School in Madison. After high school graduation, Tom attended UW-Platteville and the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Sciences. He passed his State Board Exam in June 1959 and worked as a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer for the Schroeder and later Schroeder-Cress Funeral Home until his retirement in 1999.

Tom married Kathleen M. Nelsen of Lone Rock on January 28, 1961. They raised their family in Madison and Cottage Grove. During their many years in Cottage Grove, Tom served as Village Board trustee and Village President for over 20 years. As a charter member of the Cottage Grove Lions Club, Tom enjoyed hanging the holiday lights on Main Street, working in the beer tent at the Cottage Grove Festival, serving pancakes at the annual Lion's Club breakfast, and performing as a Happy Whistler in local parades. His favorite time of year was hunting season when he spent time with his family in Black River Falls. He taught all five grandsons how to hunt, including "Tom's Rules of the Woods."

Over fifty years of marriage gave Tom and Kathie four children who survive him: Tara Baxter of Madison, Tamara (Steve) Schuchardt of McFarland, Michelle Baxter (Doug Swanson) of Waunakee, and Thomas W. Baxter (Anna Bauer), of Johnson Creek. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, who he always said he wished he had had first, Max, Sam, Anna and Molly Brunner, Alex (Ashley), Megan and Cole Schuchardt, and Merrick and Mattea Grumke. In addition, he is survived by a sister, Marlene (Gene) Woehler, two brothers, James (Ann) Baxter of Mercer and Florida, and Joseph (Georgia) Baxter of Dubuque, Iowa.

A private family burial will take place at Bear Valley Cemetery on Sunday, October 20, 2013. A Celebration of Life at Cress Funeral Home-East, 3325 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, WI, will be held on Monday, October 21, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, with a brief memorial service beginning at 6:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Agrace Hospice, whose dedicated care made Tom's last year much more comfortable. A special thanks to Kristin, Ann, and Deidre, as well as Dr. Al Musa.