Joe G. Baker passed away Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the age of 91. Baker was born July 4, 1919 in Crawford, Texas to the late Charles and Alma Baker. Joe was a 1937 graduate of Gatesville High School where he participated in football and track. After graduation Joe attended Independence (KS) Junior College and Ottawa (KS) University on football scholarships to further his academic career. His college education was interrupted by the onset of WW II. Joe enlisted in the Marine Corp on December 8, 1941; the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He participated in many battles in the Pacific Theater, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Tinian and Saipan. During a fierce battle on Saipan, Joe was wounded and spent 7 days in a field hospital. He later returned to his unit and saw further action. He would be awarded a Purple Heart for his wounds, some 56 years after the war.
After the war Joe completed his college education at Washburn University in Topeka, KS with help from the G.I. bill. While at Washburn Joe was an assistant football coach. Baker also received his Masters degree from the University of Kansas in 1957. He was hired as a football, basketball and track coach in 1948, and later, as Director of Athletics at Turner High school in Kansas City, KS. He would retire in 1984 having served the school district, and community, for 37 years.
While attending Washburn University, Joe met Anna Moden and made her is wife on June 5, 1948. They were married for 62 years. She survives and resides in San Antonio, TX. Other members of the family include his children, Dr. Jay Baker and wife Dr. Cynthia Baker of Ozark, MO, Joanna Grogan and husband Pat of San Antonio, TX; grandchildren; Becky Dailey and husband Lt. Klint Dailey of Sierra Vista, AZ, Joshua Baker and wife Tori of Kansas City, KS, Jennifer Hornick and husband Neil of Ozark, MO, Matt Grogan and wife Maggie of St. Louis, MO; great grandchildren, Lillian Dailey, Brynn Dailey, Jackson Dailey, Gage Hornick, Jayden Baker, Cora Dailey; brother, Charles Baker of Kingsville, TX and sister, Joyce Bone of Gatesville, TX. Mr. Baker was preceded in death by a son, Wade Baker and by his sister, Avis Colwick.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 12:00 P.M. at Sunset North Funeral Home in San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that contributions be made to the Turner Foundation Inc., Attn: Pam Noe, 800 S. 55th St., Kansas City, KS 66106 or on the web at www.turnerusd202.org/page.cfm?p=3345. To sign the online guestbook, please log on to www.sunsetnorthfuneralhome.com.