Howard Baker

Former Alaska resident Howard Adelbert Baker, 79, died of heart disease Nov. 1, 2008, at home in Sweet Home, Ore.
A celebration of life will be at 1 p.m. Dec. 6 at Free Methodist Church, 4607 E. Sixth Ave. in Anchorage, with the Rev. Beth Armstrong officiating. A military burial and memorial service was held Nov. 15 in Sweet Home.

Mr. Baker was born March 20, 1929, in Everett, Wash., to Andrew Joshua and Lousia Jane (Liddicoat) Baker. He was the fourth generation of Bakers out of Alaska. His great-grandfather and grandfather helped portage gold miners over the Chilkoot Pass from 1898 to 1900. Their main occupation was dairymen; they owned the first dairy in Skagway. As a young child, Mr. Baker lived with his mother and father in Auburn, Wash. His mother died when he was 3 years old, and his father raised him and took him back to Alaska when he was 10 years old. He lived first in Sitka, then Petersburg, then Anchorage where he lived for 43 years. He attended Anchorage High School, played varsity basketball, and graduated in 1949. He married his high school sweetheart, Alice Chopp, on April 2, 1950.

Mr. Baker had many jobs in Alaska, starting with working on fishing boats in the summers in Southeast Alaska. After marriage, he worked as a Teamster, driving truck, then he went to Clear, Alaska, and worked as a warehouseman and truck driver for RCA Satellite Radar Station for seven years. Then he worked out of the Teamsters hall until his retirement in May 1980.
Mr. Baker moved to Sweet Home in 1985 after his first wife's death. He met Jean Roper, and they were married in March 1986. They lived on three acres out in the country.
Mr. Baker took classes from OSU Extension to become a master gardener. His greatest passion was his roses, and he taught many classes on the care of raising them. He spent three and a half years in the military while he was in Alaska.
Mr. Baker was a member of Sweet Home United Methodist Church, where he helped in many ways. He was a lifetime member of Alaska/Yukon Pioneers and Pioneers of Alaska.

Mr. Baker is survived by his wife, Jean Baker of Sweet Home; eight children, Lydia Baker, Richard (Robin) Baker, Howard Baker Jr., Thomas Baker, Susan (Terry) Hutsell, all of Anchorage, and Steve (Laura) Baker, Debora Abercrombie and Robert Baker, all of Wasilla; five stepchildren, Tawnie, John (Diane), Mark (Julie), Robin (Henry) and Pam (John), all of Oregon; 15 grandchildren; 14 step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and nine step-great-grandchildren.
Mr. Baker was preceded in death by his first wife, Alice, and their infants, Raymond and Donna.
Donations may be made to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice in Albany, Ore.
Friends may send condolences to 4026 E. Sixth Ave., Anchorage 99508.