Bruce Baxter, age 76, of Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania died peacefully on September 6, 2022. Bruce grew up full of potential. He attended Cornell and Bucknell Universities and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where his favorite activity was singing in the Pitt Men’s Glee Club. Bruce was bright, engaging and kindhearted. He had an infectious personality and had many friends. However, Bruce faced great obstacles throughout his life arising from the rapid cycling version of bipolar mental illness, which was first diagnosed when he was 18 years old. Bruce never reached his full life potential because he had to overcome not only the challenges arising from his mental illness, but also the lack of full parity of treatment for mental health, versus physical ailments. Yet Bruce accomplished a great deal. He was an outstanding salesman, wrote poetry, and had a great singing voice. Bruce loved all of his family: His late parents, Robert and June Baxter of McKeesport; his late uncle and aunt Glenn and Dorothy Fehr of White Oak; his brother Brian Baxter and his wife Margo of Pittsburgh; Brian’s three sons, Scott Baxter of New York City and Max and Mitch of Pittsburgh; his brother Brent and his wife Celeste of St. Louis, Missouri and their children; Jared Baxter of Los Angeles, CA; Grant Baxter, of St. Louis; and cousins Doug and Sue Fehr of Pittsburgh and their extended family. Bruce was especially close with his brother Brian, and the two brothers shared a lifetime bond of brotherly love. Bruce and Brian shared many wonderful times together. Among the many treasured memories of Brian Baxter of his brother are vacations and travel (especially to Chautauqua Lake), and attendance at cultural and sports events. Bruce was a huge Steelers fan and loved to watch Steelers games with his brother. There were other times when Bruce needed assistance from his brother Brian to help him deal with numerous crises which occurred when his illness cycled into difficult terrain. Bruce also had to cope with the lack of adequate housing arrangements in the Pittsburgh area for those dealing with mental health challenges. However, Bruce never gave up. No matter how much he was knocked down, he got back up and was able to lead an extraordinary life, given the challenges that he faced. Bruce's faith also sustained him. The family would like to thank Bruce's medical treatment team at the Benedum Geriatric Center for the compassionate medical care provided to him. Also, the family would like to thank the support staff and the consumers at Bruce's mental health support groups: Peoples Oakland and Compeer Life friends. Also, the majority of owners, administrators and personal care aides at the personal care homes where Bruce lived provided compassionate care to him. The family is grateful for the many personal care aides who assisted Bruce, who were overworked and underpaid. May we work towards a society where everyone is treated with decency and respect. Memorial contributions may be made to PLEA, 733 South Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15221 (the umbrella organization to Compeer Life friends which is a wonderful resource for mental health consumers in the Pittsburgh area.) Hunter Funeral Home, Inc., 1600 Coursin Street, McKeesport, PA 15132 is in charge of arrangements. A memorial service will take place at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, 384 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238 at 11:00 am on Saturday, October 8, 2022, with a reception to follow. Please RSVP for the reception to: email@example.com. Finally, the family would like to relay Bruce’s favorite greeting: “May you receive all of God’s love and extend God’s love to all of those that you love.”
Originally published September 16, 2022.