Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Metropolis First Baptist Church with Rev. Louis W. Brinker officiating. Music will be provided by Mr. Baker’s daughter, Brenda Holt, soloist; and Karen Wemhoener, pianist.
A private family burial will follow with military rites conducted. Pallbearers will be Michael Hein, Israel Abernathy, Joe Sexton, Anthony Hein, Gabriel Carter and Melody Holt. Honorary pallbearers will be Justin Holt and Matthew Holt.
Mr. Baker worked for the railroad before going into the Army. He landed on Omaha Beach on June 10, 1944.
On July 28, 1944, he and a buddy were in a foxhole when he felt he needed to climb out. His buddy stayed and was killed minutes later when a shell hit the foxhole. Mr. Baker was critically wounded. It was later determined his older sister had felt compelled to stop what she was doing in the kitchen and pray for him.
He spent many months in the Army Hospital after being wounded, with many surgeries to follow. He was given a life expectancy of 15 years. While in Hines General Hospital in Chicago, he met a beautiful lady who made trips to the hospital to visit the wounded soldiers. He married Virginia “Dinny” Phillips in Chicago.
After he was discharged, they came back to his hometown of Metropolis. Although Dinny had been born and raised in Chicago, she soon learned to love her new small town home and her new family.
Life would never again be what it was before he was wounded, but Mr. Baker never gave in to pity or complaining. He was always grateful for the gift of life and, instead of feeling bad for what he could no longer do, found things he could do. John and Dinny built a home, raised a family and were active members of First Baptist Church. They enjoyed singing in the choir and visiting family and friends.
John started working for his choir director, Kenneth Fulkerson, in his accounting business. He later opened his own accounting business. After many years, he sold his business and planned to retire, but then went to work for Morris Niecamp and N&N Drugs.
John was born to Charles and Stella Baker on Dec. 2, 1921, and was one of 13 children. Preceding him in death was his wife, Dinny; his mother and father; and all of his brothers and sisters. His sisters were Helen Bean, Belle Barton, Ruby Davidson, Thelma Parker and Peggy Otis. His brothers were Aaron Baker, Marshall Baker, James Baker, Bill Baker, Earl Baker and two infant brothers. He was also preceded in death by one son, Ronald G. Baker.
He is survived by his daughter, Brenda Holt and husband John of Metropolis; one son, John M. “Bud” Baker Jr. of Louisville, Ky.; one daughter-in-law, Sally Baker of Gainesville, Fla.; his grandchildren, Roni Schama, Jeannie James, Michael Hein, Michelle Carter, Melody Holt and Dawn Baker; eight great-grandchildren; and many stepgrandchildren, nieces and nephews.
He had a big heart and loved his family. He was considered Granddad to any child that needed a grandfather.
He will surely be missed by many family members and friends.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 9 from 6-8 p.m. at Miller Funeral Home in Metropolis and on Thursday from 1 p.m. until the funeral hour at the church.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, Playground Fund, 307 Massac Creek Rd., Metropolis, IL 62960.