Mary H. Baker

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Mary H. Baker, 32; bright, fun and devoted to her children

Whenever Mary H. Baker walked into the room, she immediately made it hers; she was the life of the party, and she liked it that way.

Wickedly smart, always sure of herself, and almost always right, Mary delighted in knowing what she was talking about, whether the subject was forensics, serial killers, football, or even auto mechanics, said her sister, Rhonda Roque.

"She was very strong, very headstrong. You could ask her a question, she'd know the answer. And she'd always have the knowledge to back it up," Roque said.

Mary, 32, was born and raised in Fall River and lived there all her life. She was a 1989 graduate of Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, where she studied auto mechanics, and later attended the Sawyer School in Pawtucket, where she earned her certification as a medical assistant.

For the last six years, Mary worked at Rhode Island Ear, Nose, and Throat in Lincoln, where the doctors considered her far more than just an assistant.

"The doctors said they really couldn't replace her," said her husband, Warren L. Baker III, a motorcycle technician. The two would regularly spar over who knew better about fixing cars.

"She was very smart. She kind of knew a little bit about everything," Warren said.

Mary was a regular bowler, and she and Warren competed in the Animal House league in Somerset each week.

She averaged a 135 -- not bad, said Warren, but not as good as his average. "She would beat me. Sometimes," he said.

The couple dated for six years before they were married in August 2001. They had just bought a house, Warren said.

Mary loved watching cop shows and documentaries about serial killers, as well as any kind of documentary on forensic science. She'd always wanted to get into the field herself, Warren said, but never got around to the schooling.

But her real focus in life was her children, Michael DeCosta, 12, Scott DeCosta, 11, John DeCosta, 10, and Allison DeCosta, 9, all from a previous marriage. She had big dreams for all of them -- some would become concert musicians, others football players. Mary loved watching her children play football. Nothing could get her more excited than watching all four kids play and cheerlead for the local Pop Warner team, the Fall River Falcons.

"During football season, she was running up the sidelines with them, screaming," said her sister Rhonda.

-- Daniel Barbarasi, Providence Journal staff

Published in The Providence Journal on Mar. 20, 2003
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