Dr. Bryan Baker
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Bryan Baker, 91, retired professor and former head of the Animal Science Department at Mississippi State University, died March 31, 2014, at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson. Born to Bryan and Evie Baker, he was raised on his family farm, Mt. Lore, in Grenada County. He graduated from Grenada High School in 1940 and attended Mississippi A&M College for three years before joining the Army. He arrived in Normandy, France, six days after D Day on June 12, 1944, serving as a combat engineer with the 29th Infantry Division in France, Holland, and Germany. After service to his country, Bryan returned to MSU, married his college sweetheart, Nona Jumper, and finished his senior year, receiving his degree in Animal Science in 1947. He continued his education with a master's degree in 1949 before attending the University of Illinois to receive a PH.D. degree in 1954.
Bryan taught and conducted research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1954 to 1956 until he returned to Mississippi State for teaching and research. He served as Department Head of Animal Science from 1968-1987 and was also Associate Director of MAFES. For 2 years, he served as president of the Faculty Council, and in 1981 he was awarded the MSU Alumni Association Faculty Classroom Teaching and Research Award. After his retirement he was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. in March 2011 he was honored with a reception and his portrait was hung at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Bryan was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church in Starkville, serving in many capacities through the years and more recently donating hand-crafted items for mission projects. Active in the Starkville Kiwanis Club, he is one of the last two living charter members of the club that was established in 1964 and was both President and Member of the Year. He also contributed to his community by serving as a Commissioner of the Starkville Housing Authority for twenty-seven years. Bryan loved hunting, fishing, woodworking, Mississippi State sports, and telling stories with his family and many friends.
Due to declining health, Bryan and Nona moved to St. Catherine's Village in Madison in 2012. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nona, a daughter and son-in-law, Suzanne and Hunter Cade, two grandsons, Bryan and David (Sarah), and four great-granddaughters, Jordan, Dylan, Anna Claire, and Macey.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Elizabeth Baker Halback.
Funeral services will be 11:00am Wednesday April 3, 2014 at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home in Ridgeland, preceded by visitation at 10:00am. Burial will be 3:00pm Wednesday in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Grenada.
Memorials may be made payable to the MSU Foundation for the Bryan and Nona Baker Endowed Scholarship, P.O. Box 9520, Mississippi State, MS 39762.
Published in Clarion Ledger on Apr. 2, 2014