Grace Baker

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Long-time Alaskan resident Joline Baker, 84, died November 23, 2013. She battled chronic bipolar depression for nearly 40 years. The death of her middle son in 1975 was a major catalyst for this disease's unrelenting control over her life. Gradually, she severed contact with all friends and withdrew from society. Her own self-neglect and over self-medication finally forced her son to place her first into assisted living and then the Pioneer Home. Losing her independence and freedom to smoke 2 packs/day in bed, gave her a new found resentment toward everyone remaining in her life. She especially resented her youngest son for doing his filial duty of protecting his mother from all who would harm her, including herself.

She was born Grace Joline Herbert October 28, 1929 in Independence, Kansas and was always known as Joline or Jo to her friends. An only child, she graduated high school and attended one year of junior college in Kansas. In 1948, she married John Phillip Baker and together they had three sons. Following her husband's career in the Weather Service, the family moved to Alaska in the 1950s, finally settling in Anchorage in 1968. Joline and Phil divorced shortly after moving to Anchorage and she never re-married.

She worked from 1968 until the mid 1990's as a secretary/receptionist and legal secretary in the oil industry. For the majority of her career, she worked for ARCO as Executive Secretary to Senior Counsel and General Counsel of their legal department. She also worked for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

She was preceded in death by her parents, three aunts, one uncle, and her middle son Jeffrey Michael Baker. She is survived by her eldest son, Stephen Phillip Baker; two grandsons, Dylan Michael Baker and Graham Lucas Baker, all of Anchorage; her youngest son, David Max Baker and daughter-in-law, Eva Baker of Wasilla.

There will be no funeral or memorial services. In lieu of flowers and cards, a donation in her name to any mental health organization treating depression, would greatly be appreciated.

Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Nov. 28 to Nov. 29, 2013