Robert J. Baker passed away peacefully after a long illness on Feb. 25, 2014 at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, in the arms of his loving, devoted wife, Katherine.
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He was born March 11, 1949 in Brockton, MA, to James and Anne (Sweeney) Baker. He grew up in Bridgewater, MA, and graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham High School in 1967.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served honorably in the 82nd Airborne Division as a Paratrooper. He was proud of his military service, serving in many theaters from Washington, DC, during the riots to guarding the DMZ in Korea, as well as having taught cadets at West Point, and recreationally jumping with the Golden Knights Parachute Team.
Upon returning to the United States after his service, he enjoyed living and working in Hawaii. Returning to the Bay State, he attended Harvard night school, while he honed his construction skills during the day.
Robert started Baker Construction Inc. on Nantucket Island, MA, in 1982 and was happy to make the island his home. He married the love of his life, Katherine J. Balazs, on Nov. 21, 1998 and celebrated their love annually with anniversary trips around the world, including Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Morocco, Greece and China, to name a few.
Robert loved building, construction and the relationships he developed with his clients, many of whom became friends. He was a fair man and loved helping people. He enjoyed a good political debate, as well as taking full advantage of all the riches Nantucket's waters had to offer, from fishing and clamming to scalloping. He was always generous with his catch, sharing the bounty.
He leaves behind his loving wife of 15 years, Katherine; two brothers, James Baker of Minneapolis, MN, and Richard D. Baker and sister-in-law, Kathy, of Kennebunkport Beach, ME; his stepmother, Dorothy Baker of Duxbury, MA; his father-in-law, Eugene E. Balazs of Shelburne Falls, MA; brother-in-law, Stephen E. Balazs and Martha of Northfield, MA; sister-in-law, Anne L. Balazs and Peter Wood of Saline, MI; his niece and goddaughter, Sophie Wood of Saline, MI, and nieces and nephews: Margaret and Andrew Wood of Saline, MI; Noah and Rebecca Balazs of Charleston, SC, Emma E. Balazs of Wiscasset, ME, Keith, Kyle, and Tara Anne Baker of Norwalk, CT, Cayla Baker of Breckenridge, CO, Mary Beth Falla and family of New York City, NY, Jacqueline and Joanne Falla of Boston, MA, and many cousins and step-siblings.
Robert is predeceased by his parents and his sister, Patricia Baker Falla.
There are no church services.
A service celebrating his life will be held May 10, noon to 3 p.m., at The Dreamland Harbor View Room, second floor, 17 South Water St., Nantucket.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marla Ceely Lamb Cancer Transportation Fund, 57 Prospect St. Nantucket, MA. 02554.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home in Greenfield.
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home Inc
87 Franklin St
Greenfield, MA 01301
Published in The Recorder on Apr. 26, 2014