Obituary: Patricia Baxter (1942-2021)

We're sad to share news of Patricia Baxter's death. Patricia was a much-loved part of the EMMS International community and she served for many years as Voluntary Honorary Archivist. Here Mary Robertson, EMMS' Directory of Fundraising, and friends from the Church of South India share their tributes.

Patricia’s funeral service will be at 12 noon, Wednesday, 27th October, at Daldowie Crematorium, Broom House, 17 Hamilton Road, UDDINGSTON, G71 7RU. There are no restrictions on numbers attending but face masks will need to be worn.

Patricia Baxter

Volunteer Honorary Archivist

Patricia loved and valued the history of medical mission. She dedicated her life to telling other people’s stories and supporting researchers from around the world in their quest for more knowledge.

She was strongly influenced by her own past and EMMS had a huge impact on the whole family. Her Grandfather, Alexander Baxter, was born in 1869 in Leith, and later received funding from EMMS to study medicine. He met his wife, Emily, whilst working at the EMMS Cowgate Dispensary. After qualifying, he went to China with his wife where they worked together until Alexander’s death in 1918. Having grown up in China, Alexander’s son David had a strong desire to follow in his father’s footsteps as a medical missionary. Whilst at Edinburgh University, he was trained by EMMS before going to serve in India as a missionary doctor alongside his wife, Margaret who was a teacher. Patricia was born in the Christina Rainy Hospital in Royapurum, Madras in 1942. Patricia, Moira and Donald spent their early years in India until the family returned to Scotland in 1953.

Patricia trained as a nurse and married Andrew Baxter, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, in Dollar in 1966. She enjoyed the fact that she didn’t need to change her surname!

Andrew and Patricia worked on the EMMS archive together, collecting and cataloguing a wealth of historical material. After Andrew’s tragic death in 1996, Patricia continued to share stories of former EMMS students in her “From the Archive” column in the Healing Hand, and to correspond with researchers until recent weeks.

Her Christian faith held her through the hard times. She loved to go to Strontian where she found peace and solace.

We remember her son James and his wife Alison, and her grandchildren, Louise and Andrew in their loss.

Mary Robertson

Director of Fundraising

Tribute to Patricia Baxter

Patricia Baxter was born in Rainy Hospital in Madras, India in 1942 and grew up in Conjeevaram (now Kanchipuram) where her parents were missionaries of the Church of Scotland. Her father Dr David Fraser Baxter was the Chief Medical Officer of the mission hospital in Kanchipuram which has served the community since 1906. We have been researching and writing about the history of the Church of Scotland and other missions in southern India; in particular Rainy Hospital and the locations of the Baxter family. With Patricia's help, we documented a more complete story of Dr Matilda Macphail, founder of the Rainy Hospital.

As Honorary Archivist for EMMS in Edinburgh, Patricia provided valuable resources about medical mission people in Madras. We are grateful for her thorough, timely, and highly resourceful research. She cheerfully responded to our requests and was delighted when we could send her new information too. We worked as a team, crossing the distance with our common interests. With her assistance, we completed two books on the history and missionary contributions of our churches at Chengalpattu and Royapuram. She provided copies of the earliest drawings of the EMMS Medical Mission training institute in Royapuram, and the church when it served as a hospital (see figure). We were so excited to open her 'wee' parcel of papers each time they arrived. She was a valuable link to 165 years of Scottish medical mission work in our church.

Patricia was delighted to learn about the upcoming centenary of the Kanchipuram church. The interest of congregation members in their history pleased her so much. Her family's service in the Madras area is to be included in the information for their celebrations.

We were so happy to connect with her in 2017, just 4 years ago. Our gratitude goes to friends at EMMS International--Sandra Black and Eleanor Forbes--for bringing us together. Eleanor has patiently been our email partner connecting us in Chennai and Glasgow. Patricia would phone once in a while to 'check-in', to make sure we were ok and let us know about her latest research. What a delight to chat with her! We will miss her dearly. Her contributions to the church and our memories of her will always be a blessing.

Anne M. Dayanandan

Dr P. Dayanandan

CSI Diocese of Madras