Peter Ralph Paxton

Peter Ralph PaxtonPeter Ralph Paxton passed away Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield. He was 63.

An open house and memorial gathering will be held Friday, Dec. 21, from 10-11 a.m. at the H.K. Holland Memorial Chapel in Ridgecrest.

Pete was born on May 7, 1949, in Bakersfield. He attended Burroughs High School and would have graduated in 1967, but during the summer before his senior year, he was involved in a diving accident in the Kern River that resulted in his becoming a quadriplegic. He was cared for at home by his mother, Margaret Paxton, until her passing in 2005. Having far outlived the seven-year average life expectancy of someone with his injury, Pete proved to be a true survivor. He maintained an unfalteringly positive attitude for someone confined to a wheelchair for life, and his constantly optimistic outlook on life was an example for all.

Pete enjoyed reading, learning about history, spending time with family, and traveling. He even traveled to Scotland, his mother’s home country, and spent a month visiting with family and touring the castles of Scotland from his wheelchair. He spent the last few years as a resident in Kern Valley Hospital, and those who cared for him constantly commented on what an easygoing, cheerful patient he was.

He is survived by brother, Robert Paxton of Ridgecrest; sister, Heather Baird of Sour Lake, Texas; nieces and nephews, Sharlene Paxton, Robert Paxton III, Kimberly Paxton Sibril and husband Chris, all of Ridgecrest; Lisa Paxton of Anchorage, Alaska, Patricia Woods and Justin Vaughan of Sour Lake; and great-nephew, Landon Sibril. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Submitted by the family of Peter Ralph Paxton

Story First Published: 2012-12-19