Walter E. Baker passed away on July 22, 2013, as a result of an auto accident. He was born on December 2, 1923,to Davis E. and Emma (Jobski) Baker in Tilden, IL. The family lived in Rogers City, Michigan and later moved to Dayton, Ohio. He joined the U.S. Navy on December 18, 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Walt served on the carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) as part of Operation Torch. He was honorably discharged December 1945, as an Aviation Machinist Mate first class. On April 8, 1951, he married Esther Behrens in Deshler, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1950 with a B.S. in geology and the Univ. of Michigan in 1952 with an M.S. in geology. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Dayton in 1978.
Walter joined Atlantic Refining Company which became Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). After joining the international division of that company he became vice president of various ARCO Subsidiaries. In this role, Walt and Esther lived and worked in Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Iran, New Jersey, Peru, the Philippines, Australia, Somalia and Dubai. After 35 years, Walter and Esther retired to Perrysburg, Ohio.
In his retirement Walt remained very active. His many activities included restoring a 1957 Chevrolet, becoming an instrument-rated pilot, and pursuing his passions for gardening and beekeeping. He is remembered for sharing his fruits, vegetables and honey with his neighbors, family and friends. He also was a proud participant in the Ohio Honor Flight for WWII vets and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Esther and Walter are also known for their generosity. They established the Earth Sciences Field Study Endowed Scholarship with the University of Dayton and donated liberally to several charities including the Leukemia Society.
He was member of AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association), AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists), Grace Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge of Durango, CO, the Scottish Rite Lodge of Colorado Springs, CO, the USS Ranger Reunion Group, VFW, The Way Library Foundation, The University of Dayton Alumni Association and the Idlers and Loafers Breakfast Group.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Esther, and their three children; daughter Susan (Bruce) Baird and their triplet children Andrew, Michael, and sister Taylor of Centennial, Colorado; son James (Sheryl) and their children Elliott and Marilyn of Elbert, Colorado; and daughter MaryAnn (Paul) Lillis and their children Sarah and Thomas of Littleton, Colorado. He was predeceased by their two children Janet and Tommy and his sisters Velma Davis and Doris Reno.
A celebration of his life will be held August, 3, 2013, 3 p.m. at their home. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to: St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, in memory of Walter E. Baker for leukemia research. Arrangement by Peinert-Dunn Funeral Home, Waterville, OH. To leave an online memory please visit
Published in Toledo Blade on July 28, 2013