Sister Dianne Baxter, wife of Elder David S. Baxter, dies at age 66

Sister Dianne Baxter Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Dianne Marie Lewars Baxter, wife of Elder David S. Baxter, a General Authority Seventy, died Friday, March 25, 2022, in Wiltshire, England. She was 66 years of age.

Born Oct. 1, 1955, and raised in Surrey, England, Dianne Marie Lewars was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints much of her adolescent life, her family having joined when she was 7 years old. At that time, her mother believed in God but had lost faith in organized religion when no pastor or preacher could give a satisfactory answer of the condition of her two sons who died in childbirth.

When Latter-day Saint missionaries knocked on the family’s door, her mother had little interest in their gospel message, but because of the wintry cold, she invited them in. She cut short their attempts to share the gospel, but, in a moment of seeming exasperation, she said she’d listen if they could tell what became of children who died in infancy.

The missionaries reached for the Book of Mormon. Their answer resonated with her, and in short time, 7-year-old Dianne Lewars’ parents and older siblings were baptized.

Two years after he and his family converted in Scotland, David Baxter moved into the small Church branch in Surrey where Dianne Lewars and her family attended. The two attended seminary together and went to the same school, where they were two of only five Latter-day Saint students.

They began dating after he left for university, and he proposed marriage before leaving to serve a full-time mission in Scotland. Marriage followed shortly after Elder Baxter’s return home.

Chauffeured in a white Rolls Royce — their last splurge in extravagance — the pair were first married civilly, as required by law, in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, on Feb. 24, 1979. The newlyweds were sealed later the same day in the London England Temple.

Early in their marriage, during a companionship prayer, Elder and Sister Baxter committed their lives to serving the Lord, expressing their willingness to do “His will,” with no expectation or anticipation of what might come.

Sister Baxter worked in insurance and banking until the birth of the first of their four children — David, Lauren, Heather and Andrew.

With a love of the gospel since her family’s conversion at her early age, Sister Baxter served as ward Relief Society president, ward and stake Young Women president and ward Primary president and teacher. She also taught early morning seminary in her home and served in Nursery.

Elder Baxter was called as a General Authority Seventy in April 2006, after serving as an Area Seventy from 2002 to 2006.

Her special interests included British history, cooking and family history research. While residing in Utah with her husband’s Church service, Sister Baxter became an English as a second language teacher of refugees and immigrants at the Church Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City.

Sister Baxter is survived by her husband, Elder Baxter; her mother, Anne Lewars; a brother, Dave Lewars, her four children and 14 grandchildren.

With arrangements still pending, the funeral will take place in Trowbridge, Wilshire, England.

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