Richard A. Baker, age 96, passed away Friday, December 4, 2020 at Devon Oaks in Westlake. He was born May 10, 1924 in Elyria to parents Wesley E. Baker, Sr. and Eleanor L. (nee Decker). His family lived in Elyria Township in the Edison Court neighborhood off Lake Road until they moved to Berea in 1932. As a high school youth, he worked two summers on ore freighters on the Great Lakes. Richard was a talented basketball player at Berea High School, where he graduated in 1942. He enrolled at BaldwinWallace College and shortly thereafter was selected to enter the V-12 program there to prepare for naval officer training. Upon completion of V-12, he was inducted into the Navy and sent to midshipman school at Columbia University where he earned his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. His first assignment was in San Francisco where he served as an armed courier of classified military and diplomatic messages between the Federal Building and the Presidio. After several months, he was assigned to the attack transport U.S.S. Fayette of the Third Fleet in the Pacific theater. He participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima and witnessed the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. After being discharged, Richard completed his degree at B-W in 1948 and then graduated from the Cleveland School of Embalming. He, along with his parents, brothers and son operated the Baker Funeral Home in Berea for 68 years. Richard was known as a compassionate and caring funeral director by the many families he served during a 51 year career. He was a 68 year member of the United Methodist Church of Berea. His interests included big game hunting in the western U.S. and Canada and watching sports, especially Cleveland Indians baseball. As a younger man, he fully restored a 1922 Ford Model T touring car. Richard is survived by loving children David E. Baker (wife Nancy), Kerry R. Baker and special family member Howard A. Hipp (wife Rose, son Michael) and sister Marilyn Mellon. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Florence (nee Wilhelm); and brothers Wesley E. Baker, Jr. and Roger F. Baker. Private funeral services will be held Wednesday, December 9, conducted by Rev. Patrick Hunt. Committal and military rites will immediately follow at 2 p.m. at Woodvale Cemetery, Middleburg Heights, for those who wish to attend. The family suggests memorials to the Salvation Army, 2507 East 22nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115 or St. Jude Childrens Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.
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