Don Baker, 82, of The Villages, FL, made his transition on December 28 at The Villages Hospice House. Born November 13, 1933 in Fairview, WV to Maude and Virgil Baker, he was the last of six children. He graduated from Barrackville High School and attended Fairmont University. He worked for the power company in WV and then transferred to Lakeland, FL with his family, later joined by his parents and three siblings who were all enamored with Florida! He later worked with his dad in real estate and eventually became a broker.
While in Lakeland, he became interested in duplicate bridge and became a Life Master at the age of 36. Later he bought a house on the Florida Southern College campus, remodeled it, and it became the Lakeland Duplicate Bridge Club, and he was the director.
He was a loyal son who cared for his father for two years; a man whose respect and love you earned, and then he would do anything for you. He often reached out to others who had cancer to encourage them after he survived his first bout with the disease in 2001. A man of integrity, he always wanted a win-win, not wanting anyone to be cheated. Many lives were brightened with his wit and insight.
A move to Orlando led to meeting the love of his life, Sandy, in 1987. Together for 28 years, they lived in Winter Park, moved to a farm in Oxford, and three years ago moved into The Villages. They also lived part of the year in WV outside Hinton, first up Big Creek and later on the Greenbrier River until three years ago when they became full-time Villagers.
Surviving are his wife, Sandy; daughter Connie Diaz (Ed) of Lakeland; stepdaughter Jennifer McCollum (Chip) of Chevy Chase, MD; stepson David Scherer (Rose) of Chicago, IL and five grandchildren: Madeleine, Will, and Hunter McCollum and Calan and Chase Scherer.
St. Jude’s Hospital held a special place in his heart; in lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to St Jude’s at www.stjude.org. If you are interested in learning of his journey the last six months please go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/donvbaker.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held at Unity of the Villages on Saturday, January 16 at 2:00 pm. The church is located in Summerfield at 10935 SE 177th Place, Suites 501-504.