McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Wesley F. Baker died peacefully at home on Friday (Oct. 10, 2014) just 5 months and 9 days shy of his 100th birthday.
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Born on March 19, 1915, to Fred Niles Baker and Hattie Louise Marschner Baker in Roulette, Potter County, Pa., Wesley was the fifth of eight children. Strong in mind and spirit, he was a gentle and reflective man.
Wes grew up on the small family farm "up Card Creek," where - as a boy - he learned to build houses and barns. After high school graduation, he completed auto and diesel mechanics school in Cleveland, Ohio. For several years during the Great Depression, he worked as a mechanic and in the natural gas fields. During World War II, Wes was an electrician at the American LaFrance fire engine plant in Elmira, N.Y.
Wesley served his church full time for 25 years, spreading the gospel as a literature evangelist and a regional publishing department manager. After his career with the church, he maintained a construction contractor's license for decades. In his 100th year of life, Wes regularly drove his vehicle to Salem, where he completed a home remodel.
Family was paramount. Wesley met Virginia Faye Smith at a Potter County grange social function and they married on Oct. 5, 1940. They raised four children. In the 1950s, he moved his family across the country to Walla Walla, Wash., so that his children could attend church schools through college while living at home if they wished. In the 1970s, Wes moved to Yamhill County, where he built a retirement home in the woods for himself and Virginia. He did the plans, foundation, framing, roofing, plumbing, electrical, finish work, and landscaping; his son, James, helped and learned.
Wes liked to spend his time productively. His vocations were his avocations. He loved working with wood and anything mechanical.
He was predeceased by James, his son; and Virginia, his wife of 68 years. Wesley leaves behind sons, John Baker and Bruce Baker; daughter, Jeannine Best; grandchildren, Jonathan Best, Christopher Best and Erika (Baker) Barron; great-grandson, Declan Michael Barron; youngest brother, Bruce Gordon Baker; and, his devoted caregiver and dearest friend, Sharilyn Martin. Dad, Poppy, Wesley will be immeasurably missed.
Wes was a longtime member of the McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of Wesley's life at 2 p.m. Saturday at McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1500 Old Sheridan Road.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Baker Memorial Benevolent Fund, Seventh-day Adventist Church, P.O. Box 448, McMinnville, OR 97128.
Published in The Bradford Era from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21, 2014