Richard (Dickey) Baker passed away peacefully in his sleep, March 10, 2010 at the age of 84. Dickey was born in 1926, the only child of Richard and Beatrice Baker, in Lutz, Florida. When he was two years old the family moved to Niagara Falls, New York where his father practiced law for 22 years.
From an early age Dickey exhibited peculiar behavioral problems -- that in time was diagnosed as Autism. Seeking a more benign environment for Dickey to live, the Bakers relocated to Maplewood, Louisiana, where they owned and operated the Maplewood Ben Franklin Five & Dime Store from 1949 until 1965. Dickey was very well read and like the character Dustin Hoffman played in the movie "Rain Man", had a gift for numbers. He kept their store's inventories and books; and he also knew the name, birthday, heights and weights of many of their store's patrons.
The Bakers were very well traveled, and Dickey saw most of the world including the USA, Canada, Cuba, Europe, Russia, North Africa, Israel and Western Asia. His education included countless visits to museums, theaters, operas, concerts, libraries, historical sites and sports events especially in New York and Chicago. Often on such trips, Dickey would know more about the subject matter than the tour guides. Dickey continued to travel even after his parents died. As recently as last August, Dickey visited friends in Denver, and at the time of his death was planning to accompany friends to Chicago in May.
Dickey's father died in 1977. After his mother's death in 1999, Dickey, who had no living relatives, lived alone in his family's home in Westlake for the next 11 years -- thanks to the assistance provided by wonderful neighbors and good friends. Among those are: Bill Brewer, Arvin Rivers, Floyd Vincent, Walter Rizzuto and Darrell & Mary Ann Nelson. Special recognition is given to Carol Anderson for her years of caring for him and seeing to his every need on a daily basis.
A memorial service will be held at 7:00 PM at the Hixson Funeral Home Chapel in Westlake on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. Following the memorial service, the Neptune Society will spread Dickey's ashes at sea at the same latitude- longitude location as were his parents'.
Dickey was truly an amazing person and in his later years he proudly joined the Kiwanis Club of Sulphur. Those who got to know him were fortunate to have had him in their lives. He will be greatly missed.