MR James Oliver Baxter (Jim), of Riverside, Grantham, has died in St Edmunds Nursing Home, Grantham. He was 86.
Mr Baxter was the fourth of 10 children born to Tom and Beatrice Baxter. He was born in Harrow Street, Grantham, in July 1925.
He was educated at Spitalgate Boys’ School and although he passed the 11-plus examination, his family could not afford to send him to the grammar school. He left school aged 14 and went to work as a delivery boy for Grantham Co-op at their shop in Springfield Road.
After the Second World War had started, he got a job with a gang of bricklayers building air raid shelters around the town.
On his 18th birthday in 1943, he went into the Royal Navy, where he was trained as a stoker. Before he joined up he had served with the local Home Guard. While in the Navy he served on cruisers in the Mediterranean on convoy duty. At the end of the war he was posted to a minesweeper, working in the Irish Sea.
After he was demobbed in 1947, during a really hard winter, there was no work on the building sites so he got a job with the Grantham Co-op deliverying milk, with a horse and dray around the Cherry Orchard estate and the new houses around Tennyson Avenue. He also worked as a sweep in the afternoon. It was during this time that he married Gillian Woolley in 1948.
In late 1952, he left the Co-op and started working for himself full time. He had a market stall in Wide Westgate until 1957, when he decided to open a shop and he bought the old Hand and Heart public house in Wharf Road, and started what became known as Jim Baxter’s Victorian Bazaar. For several years he was also a gang master, supplying potato pickers to local farms.
In the 1970s his three sons, Malcolm, Colin and Nigel joined him in the business. His daughter, Gillian, was a missionary in Brazil for 22 years.
In 1983 he and his sons started selling new furniture and beds and the business became Jim Baxter Furnishings. In May 1994 the business closed and Mr Baxter retired.
For several years he lived in Signal Road until moving to Riverside in December 1997, where he loved the community life and made many good friends. He spent the last week of his life in Grantham Hospital and St Edmunds Nursing Home.
The funeral service was held at Grantham Crematorium Chapel, conducted by the Rev Tim Mountain.
Family mourners included: Gillian Baxter, Malcolm Baxter, Colin and Valerie Baxter, Rachel and David, Nigel and Kate Baxter, Hollie and Sean.
Other mourners included: Angela Sanders, Ivan Burch, Dave and Kath Gadd, Keith Moyers, Rita Stevens, Brian Oswin, Brian Deptford, Colin Young, Mr and Mrs Thomson, Rod and Yvonne Asher, Stella Heathershaw, Gill and Dawn Churchyard, Mr and Mrs German, Christine Baxter, Rachel Cross, Marilyn Playdon, Ian and Annice Whittle, Elizabeth Cooling, Robert and Rosemary Nash, Joseph Bellamy, Hugh Longland, Ray Thompson, Philip Thompson, Mrs Clark, Mrs Chambers, Roger Valentine, Ted Calin, Alan Jackson, Mike Leeson, Jake Newman, Joan Grummit, Julie Eldridge, Helen and John Smith, Dorrien Dexter, Tony Robinson, Marcel Bellamy, Gerald and Genny Dyer, David Sayer, Phil Barratt, Val Anderton, Mr Isaac, Liz Pearson, Barbara Perkins, Cynthia Turner, Alison Turner, Mr and Mrs Challis, Maureen and David Smith, Brian Gray and Sam Nadin.
Funeral arrangements were by Robert Holland, St Catherine’s Road, Grantham.
Donations for Dr Frier’s Children’s Holiday Fund amount to £291.65 to date.