SOUTH CHINA - Linwood "Skip" Baker passed away peacefully on Feb. 17, 2014. He was born in Randolph on Jan. 1, 1930, the youngest child of Charles and Cyrena Henderson Baker.
He attended Farmingdale and Gardiner schools, and at age 17, joined the Navy. He headed out to see the world and made several crossings of the Atlantic on an APD, visiting many ports in Europe shortly after the close of World War II. He also served as submarine warfare instructor in Norfolk, Va. He said many times that he was in the Navy for 10 years, but seasick for 12. He transferred to the Air Force in 1957 and was stationed at several radar sites, including spending a year at a remote site in the Aleutians. After retiring from the service, he began a career in law enforcement. He served on the Gardiner Police Department, was chief of police in Winthrop, and spent several years on the Kennebec Sheriff's Department and in retail security.
Skip loved telling stories and delighted his family with tales of his childhood on a small Maine farm in the 1930s - walking the miles to school, tapping into the hard cider barrel when his parents were away, eating a baked skunk quite by accident, haying before the age of tractors. He enjoyed life greatly, loved a practical joke and especially loved hunting and fishing. He experienced good fishing in Alaska and Minnesota, as well as Maine. He was quite a successful deer hunter and only regretted the fact that he was not able to go hunting after he received his free lifetime license from the state. He was proud to be the patriarch of his large crazy family. They brought him much joy (as well as a few worries) and he so enjoyed sharing time with each new member that arrived.
He was predeceased by his son, Linwood Baker Jr.; a granddaughter, Jessica Wheelock; and a grandson, Anthony J. Baker.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Cheryl, of China; son Anthony Baker and his wife, Raeanne, of Hallowell; daughter Laurie Wheeler and her husband, Richard, of Gardiner; daughter Cyrena "Tina" Baker and her partner, Roger, of Gardiner; daughter Sharon Baker, of Bishop, Calif.; daughter Brenda Prime and her partner, Robert Webber, of China; and son Dana Rosell and his wife, Thuy, of Ruther Glen, Va. He is survived by his grandchildren, Stephanie Peaslee and husband Edward, of China, Nathan Wheeler, of Augusta, Nicole Elliott and husband Clifton, of Randolph, Amber Touchton, of Richmond, Arica Pelletier and husband Jeremy, of Coquitlam, B.C., Alisha Touchton, of Pittfield, Randall Hill, of Bishop, Calif., David Barnes, of Woodridge, Ill., Christopher Cook, of China, Carlton "Buddy" Prime, of Waterville, Leanna Prime, of China, and Elizabeth Rosell, of Ruther Glen, Va. He is also survived by six great-grandchildren; a sister, Pauline Cottle, of Gardiner; and several nieces and nephews.
Friends may visit from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Staples Funeral Home in Gardiner, where a memorial service will be held immediately following visiting hours. Condolences and stories may be shared at www.staplesfuneralhome.com. Burial with military honors will be in the spring at Oak Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, if desired, contributions may be made to the Andy J. Baker Memorial Fund (checks should be payable to TD Ameritrade), RSU 2, 7 Reed St., Hallowell, ME 04347; South China Public Library, P.O. Box 417, South China, ME 04358; or a favorite