Former Miami music professor dies at 96


Photo provided by the family

Anne Baxter taught piano and music literature at Miami University from 1965 to 1992.

By Observer staff

Anne Baxter, professor of piano and music literature at Miami University from 1965 to 1992, died Jan. 14, at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, Oxford, after suffering a fall at her Oxford home. 

Baxter, 96, was a devoted musician and an “independent and professional woman at a time when that was not very common,” said her daughter, Carolyn Runge Gammerman, of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Born March 23, 1925, in Sacramento, California, Baxter taught piano at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and Earlham College after she received her music degrees from Oberlin College and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

She had five children with her former husband, the late Dr. Paul W. Runge of Richmond, Indiana. After the couple divorced, she moved to Oxford with her youngest child, Charles, who attended Talawanda High School, her daughter said.

“She was not only a mother, but a true musician,” Gammerman said. Her daughter said the family had a tradition, ever since the children were small, of standing around the piano during the holidays and singing Christmas carols as their mother played the instrument.

“We still do that to this day,” Gammerman said. “In fact, her Steinway is now at my son Sammy’s house, and while my son Benny played, we all stood around it and sang this past Christmas.” 

In addition to Carolyn Gammerman, she is survived by daughters: Miriam Runge West, Richmond, Indiana; and Amy Runge Gaffney, Chico, California. Two sons, John Runge and Charles Runge predeceased her. She is also survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Daughter Amy Runge Gaffney wrote that her mother “will be remembered for her grace and style, her sense of humor and indefatigable spirit, and her conversational, artistic and musical gifts. She never lost her curiosity and love of life.”

A private graveside service will be held post-COVID. The family requests memorials be made to the Friends Committee on National Legislation.