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Tombstone: Ronald Gene Baker

Ronald Gene Baker
Patrick Cemetery, Patrick, Madison, Arkansas
my maternal uncle

News Clipping: Ronnie Baker's Death. Click to Enlarge.

Northwest Arkansas Times
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday, August 17, 1962

According to my mother, Ronnie and his friend were on their way back to Ft. Sill when he killed himself. She believes there is another reason for his drastic actions other than despondency over returning to the Army. I’ll keep her thoughts private to protect those involved.

I’ve heard many stories of Uncle Ronnie. He was injured in a sawmill accident and struggled with pain in his leg the rest of his life. My grandmother, after being begged by Ronnie, spoke with his doctor to obtain a release for him to join the military. Aunt Julia told me when he finished with basic training she asked if his leg bothered him. He replied, “It hurts like hell but I’m not telling anybody.”

His sense of humor was legendary. While I never met the man and some of the stories I know of him I shouldn’t repeat I will share this. He and my mother witnessed something, the event was forgotten but Ronnie said, “Ain’t that a sight,” then turned to mom and asked, “Do you know what a sight is?” Mom knowing he would have something funny to say shook her head no. “A sight is a chigger climbing an elephant’s leg with rape on its mind.” From what I can gather, he was full of such “wisdoms”.

He was once in a car accident and when grandma and grandpa asked what happened he told them he couldn’t help it. He had a beer in one hand and a girl in the other.

Ronnie killed himself the day before my parents were to wed. They put off their wedding for a week. Recently, my dad mentioned Ronnie and said he wished he hadn’t killed himself. He liked him alot. Mom and Dad wondered what he would be like now. It was a sad moment.