James Earl Baker (86), of Ocala Florida passed away on February 15, 2022. His wife and closest caregiver, Charlotte, was by his side.
Jim was born November 26,1935 to parents Clarence W and Dorothy Y Baker. He was born and raised in Manheim, PA, graduating from Manheim Central High School in 1954. Jim met and married his life long sweetheart Charlotte M. Baker (Gibson), and raised his own family Kevin Baker (Cathy Baker) , Susan Hackett Leytze (David Leytze) and Wade Baker (Michele Baker) in Manheim.
Jim proudly served in the US Army as a young man in the 1950’s. His rank was Specialist (3rd class),with three years active service and one year abroad, as a clerk and typist at NATO headquarters. His duties in France also included driving a jeep for officers. During his “down time” while there, he relaxed by driving race cars. His children and grandchildren love the photos and stories about his days as an American racer competing against French drivers.
After an honorable discharge from the Army, Jim returned to Manheim to start his family. He was devoted to caring for his family and did so by excelling at many different occupations. He was a teamster for most of his life. And also worked in the family lumber and contracting business, J.G. Baker and Sons, and at Gerhart of Lititz as a lowboy driver, dispatcher, and parts manager.
During his time off he enjoyed taking his family to their cabin in Potter County, PA. Where family hikes, or forced marches as his children remember, would take place. He enjoyed whitetail and pheasant hunting,and trout fishing with the family. He was a lifetime member of Elstonville Sportsman Club, the Mount Joy Legion until 2020, Ocala Legion until 2020, and a VFW member.
After years of hard work, Jim moved to sunny Ocala FL to enjoy retirement. Never one to sit still, he quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the bocce and shuffleboard court, and renewed his billiards skills. Grandchildren and children, visiting Pap in Florida, shared many fun times with him, playing (and competing) in his favorite pastimes. He adamantly refused the golf cart his children often offered to buy him, instead riding his beloved old bike, around the development and to the grocery store.
In addition to being a great provider for his own family, he served in many volunteer positions throughout his life. Jim drove for Meals on Wheels for over 20 years and was a finalist for Volunteer of the Year in 2017. Jim and Charlotte enjoyed serving together at Lancaster County Bible Church and Lakeview Bible Church both in Manheim. Later they volunteered at Meadowbrook Church in Ocala Florida. They were both a wonderful influence to young children learning Bible verses in the AWANA program. Outside of the many organized volunteer roles he filled, he was also a much appreciated caregiver to family, friends and neighbors in their time of need.
Charlotte and the family would like to share their deep appreciation of Jim’s faith, and all that he learned and shared with the rest of his family. Jim came to know and receive the gift of God’s forgiveness and saving faith through Jesus in his 50s, while studying his Bible. He continued to read his Bible, grow in faith, share what he learned, and practice the principles of Christ the remainder of his life. Jim would want everyone to know that, by faith alone, the moment after he drew his last breath, he was at peace, in the presence of God.
His kind, gentleman’s heart, sense of humor, and love of family will be greatly missed by many.
In addition to his three children, Jim was a proud Pap to 9 grandchildren Spencer Hackett, Erin Nordholt (Tom Nordholt), Daniel Baker (Erika Baker), Nathan Baker, Melissa Baker, Jesse Baker, Rachel Baker, Hannah Baker, Joe Baker. This January his first great grandchild Reid Baker was born.
Jim and Charlotte were married in October 1959 and were blessed with 62 years together. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Ocala with family and friends.
Jim is survived by brothers Dave Baker (Nancy) and John Baker (Shirley)
Charlotte and the family would like to thank Shereen Aysheh APRN Lifeforce and Hospice of Marion County for their loving care of Jim and friendship to the family during these last months.
Please post your memories and condolences online on the Baldwin Funeral Services, Ocala FL obituary page for Jim https://baldwincremation.com/ocala-timber-ridge/ Charlotte and the family will treasure reading them.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2022 from 6:00 pm – 8:00pm at Baldwin Brothers Funeral Society- Timber Ridge Ocala (11250 SW 93rd Ct. Rd. Ste. 300, Ocala, FL 34481) Funeral Services will be held Friday, March 4, 2022 at 10:00 am at Baldwin Brothers Funeral Society, 11250 SW 93rd Ct Rd, Suite 300, Ocala FL 34481. Prior to the Funeral Service scheduled at 10:00am, there will be a viewing starting at 9:00am until service time. Jim will be laid to rest at Florida National Military Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.