Friends remember homicide victim Jenny Baxter for her sharp wit, generous heart

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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VIDOR — Jenny Baxter had challenges in her life but they did not define her.

Baxter rose above the need for a wheelchair after an aneurysm at age 17 and subsequent surgeries left her with difficulty balancing. But, friends say, none of this impacted her intelligence or her vibrant loving personality.

Last February Baxter was a guest author at Vidor Public Library, signing copies of her book “Gordon Baxter: Flying Lessons and Pilot Talk” taken from excerpts of books written by her father, Gordon Baxter.

Known as Bax, Gordon was from Port Arthur and was well known locally as a radio personality, columnist in newspapers and magazines, author and pilot. Gordon Baxter was 54 when Jenny was born, and in 1985 he penned “Jenny n’ Dad: The Love Story of a Very Young Daughter and a Very Old Dad,” using his style of humor to tell their story.

Jenny Baxter lost her father at the age of 81 in June 2005 and her mother Diane at the age of 73 in September 2014.

Close family friends said these losses were difficult on her.

Jenny Baxter’s recent killing is hard for those who knew and loved her. The 45-year-old woman’s body was found March 14 after a welfare check at her home in the Denbow Mobile Home Park, 206 FM 1131 near Vidor. Authorities believe she may have been killed at least three weeks earlier.

A live-in boyfriend, Russell James Kinney, has been arrested in connection with her death.

Two close friends of Jenny Baxter who asked their names not be released spoke of the girl they grew up with and the woman she became.

The three met as children and spent many summers together at Camp Niwana, participating in canoe and bike trips at Village Creek.

“We were very silly together because we had known each other since we were kids and could be ourselves,” the first woman said, adding they were close enough to pick on each other good-naturedly.

Jenny, they said, had a special place in her heart for animals.

“She loved every living animal on the face of the earth,” one said. “She had lots of love to give and had three cats. She adored her cats — loved her cats with her whole heart.”

The friends declined to speak on Jenny Baxter’s death, preferring to focus on the positive aspects of her they want shared with others.

The two friends released a statement regarding Jenny Baxter:

“Jenny was a loving and caring soul,” it reads. “She was funny, witty and very intelligent. She had a great big laugh that could fill the room and she always gave giant hugs, squeezing every bit of love she could into each one. Some of her most cherished memories are of her childhood years spent at Camp Niwana among friends and family, as well as time spent at the creek where she grew up.

“She had a tender and gentle spirit and loved all animals, especially her beloved cats. She had many challenges and obstacles in life, and we are devastated at her tragic loss. She was worthy of and deserved so much more respect and compassion. Jenny loved her parents, her pets and her family and friends, and she was loved and will be missed by many.

“As mentioned, Jenny was a big animal lover. If anyone wishes to honor her, we would ask that you make a donation in her name to SweetPups Nation Rescue and Sanctuary in Vidor. She would be happy to know that an animal was being helped in honor of her and her beloved cat Jack’s memory.”

— Written by Mary Meaux