Gerald Fay Baker Jr.
1931 - 2017
Iles Funeral Homes - Dunn's Chapel - Des Moines
2121 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA
Naples, Florida
Detroit and Troy Michigan

1931 - 2017

Passed March 2, 2017, Aged 85. Beloved husband of Shirley G (Galpin) currently of Naples Florida and formerly of Des Moines Iowa and the late Ilene Dorothy (Richmond) Baker (married February 10, 1951 until her passing). Born June 19, 1931 to Gerald F and Mildred H (Putnam) Baker of Flint, Michigan, Jerry was a 1949 graduate of Detroit Thomas M Cooley HS after attending University of Detroit Jesuit HS circa 1945-47. Jerry served in the US Air Force during the Korean War and as a member of the Detroit Police force. Following service to his country and community, Jerry held several positions with SS Kresge Co and Kmart Corp.

Known as America's Master Gardener(R), Jerry gained notoriety with the publication of his first book, runaway bestseller, Plants Are Like People and a record album by the same name in 1972. Over the years, Jerry wrote or inspired more than 100 books on gardening, household hints, and health.

His 50 year career in gardening included, in the 1970s, frequent appearances on TV shows like Dinah's Place, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He hosted his own TV show, Plants Are Like People, and appeared weekly as a gardening expert on TV morning shows like Kennedy and Company in Chicago and on the ABC affiliates' morning shows in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles. In the 1980s and 90s Jerry was spokesperson for Kmart Garden Centers and hosted On the Garden Line radio show, syndicated on hundreds of stations across the country every Saturday morning. Later in his broadcasting career, Jerry was featured in popular programming on PBS and was a regular on QVC. Today, Jerry Baker's wit, wisdom, know how and "grow-how" continues through a business and website by the same name.

Survived by his and Ilene's beloved children, grandchildren and great grandchild: Their daughters Suzanne I Koleszar of Walled Lake Michigan, Diane K Gasior (Kim A) of Brighton Michigan, Patricia A Strait (Harold H) Rochester Hills Michigan, Kathryn A Stubleski (Andrew M) of Ellicott City Maryland, their son Jeffrey S Baker (Lorie A Ryan) of Birmingham Michigan, their grandchildren Mathew J Koleszar , Patrick H Strait, Emily A Strait, Katelyn P Strait, Zachary A Gasior, Kelsey I Gasior, , Gerald F Baker III, John R R Baker, William A Stubleski, and Elizabeth K Stubleski and great grandson Conor P Strait. Also survived by his beloved brother-in-law and sisters-in-law Donald E and Mary Ellen Richmond of Redford Michigan and Nancy A Richmond (Paul D) of Clinton Township Michigan, loving nieces and nephews, Shirley's dear sons John Fitzsimmons of Naples Florida and David Fitzsimmons of Des Moines Iowa and many cherished friends.

Preceded in death by beloved wife of 43 years Ilene Dorothy (Richmond) Baker of Troy and Detroit Michigan on August 11, 1994, Parents Gerald F and Mildred H Baker, Ilene's parents Donald W and Edna D (Pringle) Richmond of Detroit Michigan, brother-in-law Paul D Richmond, brother Ronald J Baker of Alden Michigan and sister and brother-in-law Richard C and Beverly A Spaulding of Elkhart Indiana.

The immediate family plans a private remembrance. Jerry will be laid to rest at Rising Sun Cemetery in Pleasant Hill, Polk County, Iowa.
Published by Livingston Daily Press & Argus on Mar. 5, 2017.
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Iles Funeral Homes - Dunn's Chapel - Des Moines
2121 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA
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I have fond memories of listening to Jerry Baker on the radio growing up in a suburb of Detroit with my Father (who was the same age as Jerry). My Dad enjoyed gardening and using Jerry’s wisdom. My Husband and I have continued this legacy purchasing his books and using his tonic recipes. Jerry was knowledgeable about every aspect of gardening and I appreciated his natural remedies over all the harmful chemicals. Thank you Jerry!
August 9, 2020
I became acquired with Jerry during his later years when I purchased one of his books and was very grateful for his insights in gardening and life. After some remodeling at home and moving things around I have to dig out my book if his to help me deal with problems in my yard. Jerry is greatly missed. Look forward to seeing the different books on the website.
Beth Hargrove
October 3, 2018
To Patty and Hal,

We are very sorry to hear about the loss of your father. He impacted so many people and, of course, the gardening community. My own father was close to the Kmart and Franks organizations and can remember his positive influence.

With Deepest Regrets,

-Jack and Nancy Waters
Jack Waters
March 14, 2017
Dear Patty and Hal, we are so sorry to hear the news of the passing of your father and we will keep you and everyone in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Bob and Sally Larkin
Bob Larkin
March 14, 2017
To the family of Gerald Fay Baker Jr., I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sure you will miss him dearly. Please find comfort in knowing one day we will see our loved ones again. John 6:40. Matthew 5:5.
March 14, 2017
I had the pleasure of knowing Jerry in Juniper Village.He was a very kind man.We will all miss him.With heartfelt sympathy to the Baker Family.The family of Fri eda Lantry at Juniper Village.
March 9, 2017
So sorry to hear you have passed.. Hope you are enjoying tending to that great garden in heaven.
God speed Gerry.
richard merrell
March 7, 2017
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