DeKALB – James Robert Baker, 88, of DeKalb, Ill., died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center, DeKalb.|
Born Oct. 9, 1924, in Dana, the son of Archibald Wilbur and Lela Myrtle (Bane) Baker, Jim married Marian E. Healy on June 13, 1948, in Kankakee.
Jim was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, having served during World War II. He flew 34 missions over Germany. He later was a member of the 2nd Airborne Division 8th Air Force Association. After returning from World War II, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Illinois State University and later earned two master's degrees from Northern Illinois University. He first taught at Washburn High School and then taught four years at Bradley High School, where he wrote the school song. Jim retired from DeKalb schools after teaching more than 25 years.
Jim was a member of First United Methodist Church and of its Chancel Choir and Celebration Chorale. He was a founder of the Kish-Wau-Keys Barbershop Chorus in 1961 and the Oak Crest Boys musical combo, and was a 20-year participant of the DeKalb Municipal Band. He also was a member of Kishwaukee Kiwanis and DeKalb County Farm Bureau Prime Timers.
Jim's family offers special thank-yous to the Oak Crest staff and DeKalb County Hospice for the loving care they gave him.
He is survived by his two daughters, Kris (David) Bethel of Belvidere and Melynda (Michael) Mungor of Cherry Valley; three grandchildren, Matthew (fiancée, Shawn) Bethel, Mark (Falynne) Bethel and Nicholas Mungor; and great-grandson, Jenz Bethel.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Marian, in 1999; his parents; and three sisters, Dorthea Jean Cade, Blanche Madole and Saralou Isham.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at First United Methodist Church, 321 Oak St., DeKalb, with the Rev. Jonathan Hutchison and the Rev. Brian Gilbert officiating. Burial will follow at Fairview Park Cemetery, DeKalb, with full military honors by DeKalb County Honor Guard. Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Anderson Funeral Home, DeKalb.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the James R. Baker Memorial Fund, sent in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115.
For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call 815-756-1022.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Feb. 22, 2013