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James Douglas Baker Jr.

1925 - 2019
James Douglas Baker Jr. Obituary
James Douglas Baker, Jr.

Vero Beach - James Douglas Baker Jr., 94, lifelong Vero Beach resident and a veteran of WW II, died peacefully at home on June 10, 2019.

Doug was born February 5, 1925 to parents Sarah Marion (Smith) Baker and James Douglas Baker, in a still-standing house on 15th Place that had been built for them by Vero pioneer James Hudson Baker (Doug's grandfather).

In 1942, Doug graduated from Vero Beach High School, where he played drums in the band and lettered in basketball and tennis. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for a semester but became a United States marine a few weeks after his 18th birthday in 1943. While in the Marine Corps he served as an aircraft mechanic in Hawaii and the Philippines. After his honorable discharge as a corporal in 1945, he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Florida and returned home to Vero Beach, where he met Bettie Martha Beall, an attractive and energetic young teacher from Georgia who was boarding at a house across the street. They married in 1951. Their two children, both of whom survive Doug, are Deborah Nysewander (David, deceased) of Temple, Georgia and Don Hudson Baker (Nikki) of LaBelle, Florida.

Doug's career included work as an accountant, seven years as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, and 18 years as a loan officer for First Federal Savings of Indian River, from which he retired.

Doug's book about his life in early Vero is online at

After Betty's death in 1988, Doug married Ann Tucker of Ft. Pierce, who preceded him in death.

In addition to his children, Doug is survived by granddaughters Sarah Marie Durham (John), Elizabeth Joyce Baker, and Jessica Dawn Baker, and great-grandson Dakota Durham. Also surviving is beloved sister Linda Lou Metz (Jack) of Vero Beach and nephews David Baker, Dale Metz, William Baker, Steve Metz and Raymond Metz. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by brothers George Edward ("Buddy") Baker and Don Smith Baker.

Visitation will be held from 6-8 PM, Thursday, June 13, 2019 at Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach. Funeral Services will be held at 11 AM, Friday, June 14, 2019 at First United Methodist Church. Interment to follow at Crestlawn Cemetery. An online guestbook is available at :
Published in the TC Palm on June 12, 2019
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