DONALD CHARLES BAKER
Donald Charles Baker was born on April 25, 1919 in Westbury, New York on Long Island. His life was marked with notable accomplishments in school, sports, business and family. He also devoted considerable time and energies to Christian related work and activities. He was also known for his unselfish love for people.
Don graduated from Westbury High School in 1936 where he was the Senior Class President and star athlete in football, basketball, and track earning many awards and recognitions. Don then attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) where he gained great notoriety as a "Tarheel" running back, being called at one point "one of the fastest backs in the country" and earning among other honors the Grail Award as the top student/athlete. He also was senior class vice president, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and graduated with a degree in Physical Education in 1941.
On the eve of WWII, he joined the newly formed 3rd Marine Division and in 1943 was shipped to the South Pacific. There he participated in several major military campaigns including Bougainville where his exploits were later captured in a book entitled A Ribbon and a Star. Upon his return to the States, he was promoted to the grade of Major, reassigned to Camp Pendleton, CA, and married the love of his life, Janet Witzenberger from Farmingdale, NY.
After being discharged from active duty in 1947, Don returned to his roots on Long Island and began his professional career with the New York Veteran's Administration teaching physical rehabilitation. Concurrent with his work, he remained active in the Marine Reserves, being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and attended Columbia University where he completed a Masters Degree in Phys Ed.
In 1949, Don joined the automotive industry which was to become his primary career field. His first job was as a Sales Associate for A. Schrader & Son in Brooklyn, NY, a company specializing in the manufacture of tire valves. In 1951, Don was transferred to the branch office in Akron, Ohio where he was promoted to Sales Manager. For about 9 years, he and his family lived in Silver Lake, OH near Cuyahoga Falls.
In 1959, Don was transferred back to Brooklyn NY as the Corporate Sales Manager, living in the town of Centerport on the north shore of Long Island. In 1964, Don briefly left the automotive industry, picking up roots and taking a job as Sales Manager with a Christian publishing company called Scripture Press in Wheaton, Illinois near Chicago. Don returned to Ohio and to the automotive industry in 1968, where he spent the remainder of his working years. First he was the Tire and Rim Sales Manager for Eaton Corporation in Massillon. In 1978 he was hired as Senior Sales Representative for Standards Testing Laboratory (STL), a company specializing in Tire Testing. Finally, he finished is working career in 1990 as Senior Sales Representative and Consultant for with Smithers Scientific Testing in Akron.
In addition to all of Don's professional endeavors, he was active in a variety of Christian related ministries. These included the Canton Baptist Temple, Christian Businessmen's Committee (CBMC), Christian Radio (WCRF in Akron), Gideons International, and Plymouth Haven Baptist Church. His life was epitomized by the Bible verse in Philippians 1:21: "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."
In late 2006, Don entered a retirement community in Northern Virginia called "The Fairfax" where he lived until his passing. He is survived by his son, Don Jr., and his daughter, Jan. He is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to Gideons International at www.gideons.org
or PO Box 1494, Massillon, Ohio 44648.