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James Burnell Baker

March 6, 1930 — November 6, 2021

James Burnell Baker

James Burnell Baker (Jim) of Clearwater, FL passed away on November 6, 2021 in Dunedin, FL. after over 91 years of a full and happy life. He was born on March 6, 1930 in Reidsville, NC and graduated from Reidsville High School. He earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from North Carolina State University (NC State) and a Master of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After college, he served his country as a Captain in the United States Air Force.

Jim worked for Honeywell Aerospace in St. Petersburg, FL for his entire civilian career until his retirement in 1993. He specialized in the development of leading-edge guidance and navigation systems for both civilian and military use. In 1967, he won the prestigious Tampa Bay Tony Jannus Award for his contributions in aviation.

Jim lived most of his adult life in Clearwater, FL. He was a dedicated Rotarian for over 49 years, past president of the Clearwater East Rotary Club, and Assistant Governor of Rotary District 6950. He took great pride in the service work and fellowship of Rotary and enjoyed visiting Rotary Clubs around the world during his travels. He attended the First United Methodist Church in Clearwater for over 50 years and loved his Sunday School breakfast group. In the 1960’s, he could be found keeping score at Safety Harbor little league games or replenishing supplies in the concession stand. In the 1970’s, he served as Committee Chairman of BSA Troop 413 and spent many nights watching Clearwater High School Basketball games. He liked to work with his hands - growing orchids or pineapples and building in his workshop. He was knowledgeable and skillful and taught that love of DIY to his children. In his later years, he loved going for drives, watching birds, boats, water and spending time with those he loved.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Marie Richardson Baker. He is the beloved father of three children and their spouses. Sara Anne Baker Hopkins (Sally) and her husband David L. Hopkins of Houston, TX; James Richardson Baker (Rick) and his wife Robin Parks Baker of Destin, FL; and William Reid Baker (Bill) and his wife Michele Hamilton Baker of Richardson, TX. He was a loving grandfather of two and their spouses, Hamilton Reid Baker and his wife Leah Maree Baker of Cupertino, CA and Chandler Baker Ewen and her husband Stuart David Ewen, of Kirkland, WA. He is also survived by his sister, Marion Mitchell Snow, of Reidsville, NC, special friend Shirley Smith of Dunedin, FL, and many nieces, nephews, other family, friends and his treasured caregivers.

James will be buried in the Richardson family plot in Reidsville, NC alongside his wife. There will be two memorial services; first, a memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at Wilkerson Funeral Home, 1909 Richardson Drive, Reidsville, North Carolina on Saturday 11 December 2021 at 2pm with Visitation at 1pm. Second, a memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at First United Methodist Church of Clearwater, 411 Turner Street, Clearwater, Florida on Friday 21 January 2022 at 2pm with Visitation at 1pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to either the M.D Anderson Cancer Center, James B. & Marie R. Baker and David & SaraAnne Hopkins Research Endowment for Multiple Myeloma, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or to The Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60693.

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Past Services

Committal

Saturday, December 11, 2021

10:00 - 10:00am (Eastern time)

Arriving after service at the Funeral Home

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Visitation

Saturday, December 11, 2021

1:00 - 1:45pm (Eastern time)

Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory

1909 Richardson Dr, Reidsville, NC 27320

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Funeral Service

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)

Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory

1909 Richardson Dr, Reidsville, NC 27320

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Visitation

Friday, January 21, 2022

1:00 - 1:45pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church of Clearwater

411 Turner Street, Clearwater, FL 33756

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Memorial Service

Friday, January 21, 2022

Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church of Clearwater

411 Turner Street, Clearwater, FL 33756

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