Elizabeth Lee (Watkins) Baker (1921 - 2015)

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  • "I'm sorry for your loss. Death is to be brought to nothing...."
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Elizabeth Lee Watkins Baker of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, died at home under the care of Hospice Maui on August 21, 2015. She was 94 years old.
The second of four children of Casey County educator/local historian Willie M. Watkins and his wife, Edna Lee Murphy Watkins, Libby was born on the Fourth of July in 1921 and raised in Liberty. She earned a teaching degree at Berea College and taught elementary school for a number of years.
Libby met Ben W. Baker at Berea and they married in 1940. Ben's military service during World War II took them to a number of places, concluding in California where he obtained an MBA at Stanford University and a CPA license. They moved to Oahu and then to Maui, where they built their home on Halama Street and remained for the remainder of their lives..
Maui at that time was the tropical paradise most people envision without the commercialism of what we see today. Libby was civic-minded, being appointed by the first elected governor of Hawaii to the State Library Commission. She worked arduously for the Outdoor Circle, including advocating for a ban on billboards on the island and similar projects.She was active in the League of Republican Women Voters and local politics, supporting candidates and promoting environmental causes.
The Maui lifestyle was idyllic but simple, and Libby helped make it a place that was welcoming to all who visited. This was important for mainland guests of the companies for which her husband Ben worked as Controller of Alexander & Baldwin and Vice President/Finance of Maui Land & Pineapple Company when they were developing the Kapalua resort. Libby and Ben traveled the world extensively until Ben's death in 2001.
Libby was an avid golfer and lifelong duplicate bridge player. An eclectic reader, creative and artistic, she designed clothing and made sculptures of shells, beach glass and driftwood, which she often gave away. Libby supported local artists and fledgling sculptors. She served as an officer and volunteer for numerous clubs and organizations, from Scouting to the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and Maui Memorial Hospital.
Most important to Libby was family. She loved life and made the most out of living. A spirited cheerleader for the family and great role model, Libby enriched the lives of those around her.
She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Sherry Baker Dahman, a forensic psychologist (ret.) living in The Villages, Florida, and her son, Ben W. Baker III, Kihei, Maui, whose background includes such diverse professions as special education, executive search, real estate and mortgage banking.
Libby remained engaged with her extended family in Kentucky, and is survived by her sister, Sharleen Watkins Power, and brother, Dr. James R. Watkins, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by one sister, Josephine Watkins Foster, of Liberty. At her 90th birthday party, her friends praised her humor and wit. Private services will be held by the family.
Published in The Casey County News on Sept. 2, 2015