Kenneth Holdstock Baker remembered for devotion, wit
Kenneth Holdstock Baker died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y. He was 87.
Mr. Baker’s life was marked by devotion to his family and faith.
Mr. Baker was born Sept. 1, 1924, in Glendale, Calif. He and his older brother, Phillip, grew up in the Masonic Home orphanage in Covina, Calif., after their mother died and his father decided he was unfit to raise them.
“It was not a happy home,” Mr. Baker’s son, David Baker, said. His father always said he felt as though he were playing catch-up on learning how to have a family.
Mr. Baker met his wife, Ada Alvira Martin, while serving during the Korean War. He was assigned to her parents’ house for a Sunday dinner. The Martins were fundamentalist Christians, and according to David Baker, Mr. Baker said he was saved that night.
Mr. and Mrs. Baker were married six weeks later on Sept. 30, 1951. The couple attended Bible College together, focusing on missionary studies. They served in local church-sponsored food pantries.
Their daughter Elizabeth Baker described it as a whirlwind romance that worked out overall.
Mr. Baker served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
The couple moved to Columbia later in life. After Ada Baker was admitted to a nursing home in Columbia, Mr. Baker voluntarily lived there with her for three years.
“My dad became an absolute hero when they moved to the nursing home,” Elizabeth Baker said.
Elizabeth Baker said that while her parents were there, she received a call from the nursing home administrator complaining about Mr. Baker, as he was disrupting the employees from doing their job.
“People would much prefer to hang out with dad than do their work,” Elizabeth Baker said. She said her father was mischievous, witty and teased the people around him.
After Ada Baker’s death, Mr. Baker moved with his son, David Baker, and his son's family to Buffalo, N.Y. David Baker said that despite Buffalo’s cold winters, his father walked every day.
Mr. Baker is survived by his brother, Phillip Baker of Franklin Lakes, N.J.; daughters Elizabeth Baker of St. Louis and Kate Knechel of Shiloh, Ill.; a son David Baker of Williamsville, N.Y.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Mr. Baker’s wife, Ada Baker, and a daughter, Pamela Bladen, died earlier.
A visitation for Mr. Baker will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. He will be buried at Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
Donations in Mr. Baker’s memory can be sent to “Through the Bible," Les Feldick Ministries, 30706 W. Lona Valley Road, Kinta, OK 74552.
Tributes can be posted at at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com