As the year closes, I’d like to pay tribute to a couple uncles who passed away this year. It’s been a tough year for the Baker siblings.

Photo: Dave Wilburn Baker

Dave Wilburn Baker
December 24, 1984

Dave Wilburn Baker
3 Mar 1932 Patrick, Madison, Arkansas
12 Oct 2010 Delaney, Madison, Arkansas

Survived by his wife
Norma Sue GABBARD Baker
and his children:
Sherman Baker, Carol BAKER Shepherd, Lila BAKER Glenn, Marcia BAKER Johnston and Ronald Baker.
Numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Uncle Dave is his laugh. He was a natural storyteller. Everyone in the family loved to hear him tell stories, especially funny ones. He’d get tickled while telling and you could hardly understand what he was saying through his laughter. I have an uncontrollable grin just remembering it.

The last few years of his life, he was bed-ridden after a series of strokes. His booming laugh no longer rang out but his spirit was still strong. I remember telling him a joke and his eyes sparkled as his mouth broke into a huge grin. I will truly miss him.

He served in the military and fought in the Korean War. He was buried with the honor every serviceman deserves. The bugler played the most beautiful rendition of Taps I’ve ever heard.

Photo: Dean Wesley Baker

Dean Wesley Baker
July 1999

Dean Wesley Baker
4 Sep 1934 Patrick, Madison, Arkansas
4 Jun 2010 Fayetteville, Washington, Arkansas

Survived by his wife Geneva SKELTON Baker
and his children:
Thaddeus Baker, Tamra BAKER Warford and Teresa BAKER Steward
Numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Uncle Dean was a preacher and he had the voice for it. It carried. I’ve often watched newcomers to the family (husbands and wives of cousins) as they get their first glimpse of Dean in a family setting, relaxed. Their eyes would get a bit larger as he told a story, his voice rising as it progressed and ending in a booming laugh. It didn’t take long for each of them to become quite fond of the man.

He retired a few years ago from a career as a carpenter. He’d been remodeling his brother’s house and helping with the farm at the time of his accidental death. I didn’t spend as much time with Uncle Dean while growing up as I did with Dave but I was slowly getting to know him better in recent years. We both had much more free time. I wish I could have known him better.

Dean was also a military man. He was afforded the same honors at his funeral though the graveside service was canceled due to stormy weather, therefore no Taps.