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BAKER Joel Wyman Baker D.D.S., longtime resident of Jacksonville's southside, died June 5, 2012 at age 84. Born August 10, 1927 in Denmark, South Carolina to Bruce Crayton Baker and Clara Wyman Baker, he spent his early years in Chester, SC. His father, a textile engineer, managed the Springs Cotton Mills, producers of cloth for the military. Maternally, Joel was directly descended from the Scottish family of Hay. One of his ancestral great-grandfathers, Colonel A. Hawkes Hay, fought in the American Revolutionary War. After graduating from Macaulay Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN, Joel enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving briefly until the close of WWII. He earned his BS degree at North Carolina State University (1950), and was a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the Kappa Alpha Order. After receiving his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Emory Dental College in Atlanta, Dr. Baker moved to Jacksonville. From 1959-1970, he practiced General and Pediatric Dentistry; then his specialty changed to Endodontics because of a critical need in the North Florida area. As an Endodontic specialist, Dr. Baker lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. He maintained his dental office on Hendricks Avenue in the San Marco area until his retirement from the fulltime practice in 1995. Dr. Baker served as both President and Director of the Jacksonville Dental Society and the NE Florida District Dental Society, A.D.A Other leadership roles were Duval County Dental Research Clinic (President and Endodontic Chair); American Dental Association (NE Florida Delegate); Member of the UF Academy of 100; and the Southern Endodontic Study Group. Active in his community, Dr. Baker served as President of the South Jacksonville Civitans and was a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Florida Sheriff Association for providing many hours of free dental service to residents of the Florida Sheriff Boys Ranch. Joel enjoyed memberships in the San Jose Country Club and Yacht Club, and was a past member of the Ponte Vedra Club. A man of deep faith and a lifelong Presbyterian, Dr. Baker was a beloved, longtime member of South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church serving as Deacon, Diaconate Chair, and Elder. Joel Baker loved Jacksonville, delighted in its citizens, and lived his genuine desire to be of service to others. He possessed the rare gift of being in the moment with anyone, no matter the person's role in life. The epitome of Southern gentle hood, he was never happier than when he was putting someone at ease with his inclusive smile and ready wit. Dr. Baker was predeceased by his parents and his late wife Sharon Seales Baker. Survivors include his loving wife Julie King Baker; sister Mary Baker Bell; son Robert Baker (Michelle); daughter Amy Baker Light (Randall); stepsons Marcus King (Elsa) and Byron King (Dana); one stepdaughter Julie Seales Brown (Phil). Other survivors include his former wife Florence Z. Baker; granddaughters Morgan Baker, Shelby and Carson Light; seven step-granddaughters; and one step-grandson. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2012 at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, 2137 Hendricks Avenue with Reverend Dr. Vincent Kolb presiding. Interment will follow in Oaklawn Cemetery. The family request memorials be made to South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, Community Hospice of NE Florida, or to the . Special thanks are extended to the caring staff at Heritage Crossings Assisted Living, Community Hospice, and to Mr. John Joyner for his loyal and patient caregiving. HARDAGE-GIDDENS OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Blvd is serving the family. Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union from June 7 to June 8, 2012
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