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William Royall Baker

CARTERSVILLE, VA - William "Bill" Royall Baker, of Cartersville, Virginia, celebrated his 88th birthday with the Lord the evening of February 20, 2013 after a short illness. Born in Columbia, Virginia on February 20, 1925, he was the son of Sallie Garrett Baker and Robert Esten Baker, Sr. Bill was predeceased by his wife, Charlotte Page Irving Baker, brother Howard Percy Baker, and sister Julia Baker Parrish. He is survived by his three children, Sharon Swink (Gilbert) of Norfolk, Virginia, Dwight Baker of Cartersville, Virginia and James Baker (Joy) of Aiken, South Carolina; brother, Robert Baker, sister Jeanne Kent; five grandchildren, Gilbert ("Bert") Swink IV, David Swink (Jessica), Christopher Swink, Rachel Baker and Robert Baker; and a host of nieces and nephews. Bill graduated from Hamilton High School in 1942, and joined the U.S. Navy soon afterward. He served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp in the Pacific Theater, flying in Dive Bomber Squadron VB86. He survived the bomb hit on his ship during their March 19, 1945 strike on Kure Harbor. He received the Air Medal for action there during the July 28, 1945 strike on the Battleship Haruna. After leaving the service, he became the devoted husband of Charlotte Baker in 1947. Bill earned a B. S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1951. Upon his graduation in '51, Bill and Charlotte moved to Newport News and then Hampton, where they raised three children. He was a founding member of Northampton Presbyterian Church where he served many years as an elder. He worked almost thirty-seven years at Newport News Shipbuilding, in their Facilities Engineering Department. There, he designed unique shipbuilding equipment such as a boring machine to cut holes through armored decks of Nimitz class aircraft carriers for reactor installation, and a machine to dynamically balance the propulsion shafts. As lead mechanical engineer for the North Yard expansion he supervised procurement and erection of the largest gantry crane in North America as well as state of the art fabrication shops and a dry dock used for construction of Liquefied Natural Gas carriers and Nimitz class aircraft carriers. He retired in 1988 and in 1998 they returned to live in a home Bill designed and supervised construction of himself, near their childhood homes, where they were active members of Oakwood United Methodist Church. Bill loved designing and working with machinery. He also loved hunting and spending time with his extended family. He exhibited great discipline and perseverance in his struggle with Type 1 diabetes. The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday February 24 at Oakwood United Methodist Church, Cumberland County Virginia, where funeral services will be held on Monday at 3 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to Oakwood United Methodist Church, 1291 Columbia Road, Columbia VA 23038 or the .

Published in Daily Press on Feb. 24, 2013
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