In Memoriam: Lincoln Baxter II


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Lincoln Baxter II on March 5, at Royal Nursing Home in Falmouth.  He was 88.

Lincoln was born on July 25, 1924, in Washington, DC, the son, of Horace Monroe Baxter, and Janet Ransome Baxter.  Lincoln graduated from the University of Richmond in 1946, and then studied physics at Cornell University from 1946-1949.  Upon leaving Cornell, Lincoln moved to Boston, and worked as a research associate at the Polaroid Corporation from 1949-1955.  While in Boston, he met and married Frances Elaine Schulze in 1950. 

In 1956, Lincoln joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as a research assistant reporting to J. B. Hersey. He worked at a number of departments at WHOI including Geology, Electronics, Physics, and Applied Oceanography. During his career, Lincoln participated in a number of underwater sound experiments under contracts for the US Navy, and cruised on most of WHOI's vessels over the years, including, the R/V Chain, the R/V Bear, the R/V Altantis II, and the R/V Atlantis.  Lincoln participated in the search for US Navy Nuclear submarine Thresher, lost off the New England Coast on April 10, 1963.   Lincoln contributed to the deep submersible program at WHOI designing the optics for the Alvin's windows.  This was a difficult problem to solve due to the thickness of the optics required to survive the pressure of great ocean depths.  During his career at WHOI, Lincoln authored or co-authored over 12 technical publications and over 20 technical reports. He retired from the Oceanographic in 1985.  He was a member of a number of technical societies.

Lincoln was know in Falmouth and Woods Hole as the owner of a 30-ft., wooden glass cabin cruiser, Amycita, which was well known in Woods Hole and surrounding waters for her unique character, as a pocket replica of the late 19th century naptha-powered, glass cabin launch.  She was docked just inside the Eel Pond Bridge, and often photographed and painted. Lincoln was member of the Woods Hole Yacht Club from the mid-sixties through 2011, and, in the final years, kept the Amycita on his mooring off the yacht club.

Lincoln was among the founding members of the Buzzard's Bay Sail and Power Squadron, when that group broke away from the Cape Cod Power Squadron in the I960s.  In the Power Squadron, Lincoln earned the educational rank of Navigator, the highest level of educational achievement in the Power Squadron.  Lincoln went on to teach celestial navigation at the Powersquadron for a number of years afterwards.

Lincoln was a life long amateur astronomer, building his first 6-inch reflector telescope using a mirror he ground himself as a teenager.  He maintained this telescope in his back yard for most of his life.  In the early years of his retirement, Lincoln also offered courses in astronomy in the Falmouth community Adult Education Program. 

Lincoln, with his wife Frances (who died in February 10, 1999), were founding members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth.  Lincoln and Frances made significant contributions to that church as it built its current building on Sandwich Road (the first new Unitarian Universalist church built in Massachusetts since 1910).  The church's endowment fund was named the Baxter Prince First Century Fund, partly in honor Lincoln's substantial gift to the fund in 1999.  Today, anyone who has made a bequest or similar planned gift to the society, or remembered the church in their estate plan, is recognized as a "Baxter Associate" of this Society.

Lincoln is survived by two sons, Lincoln A Baxter, of Charlotte, NC, and Eric L Baxter, of Bayboro, NC; and three grandchildren Amy Baxter Lazcek, Nicholas Eric Baxter, and Lincoln Baxter, III; as well as two great grandchildren.

A memorial service honoring Lincoln's life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday April 6, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth, 860 Sandwich Road, East Falmouth, MA.  A light reception will follow the service.  Gifts in memory of Lincoln may be made to the Church's building fund or endowment, or to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.






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