Diana Harbage Baker
June 8, 1927 – July 31, 2018
CHARLOTTE - Diana Harbage Baker, 91, passed away peacefully on July 31, 2018, at Southminster Retirement Community in Charlotte, NC.
Born on June 8, 1927, in Philadelphia, Diana was the daughter of Alfred Bennett Harbage and Eliza Finnessy Harbage, both of Philadelphia. Her father was a Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Shakespeare. The General Editor of The Pelican Shakespeare, he wrote many books of criticism on Shakespeare and other Tudor and Stuart dramatists, as well as crime fiction under the pen name Thomas Kyd, a pseudonym derived from the name of a 16th century English playwright. Her mother, also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was a homemaker who helped her husband on his many literary projects.
Diana attended the University of Pennsylvania for two years, until her father moved to Columbia University, where she completed her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. Her father went on to Harvard where he taught for many years as Cabot Professor of English Literature.
Diana met her husband, Alan Griffin Baker, Jr., while he was earning his Master's Degree in English at Columbia. They married on July 19, 1952, and Alan embarked on a long career in the advertising industry. They had three children, William, Edward and Jane, while living in Queens, NY. In 1958 they moved to Stamford, CT, to an old house said to be the former summer residence of Boss Tweed, who ran Tammany Hall in New York City. While there, they had two more children, Alfred and Elizabeth.
In 1968, they moved to New Canaan, CT, where Diana was involved in many organizations including the New Canaan Sewing Group, where she was an avid knitter and designer of needlepoint, and an active member and leader of many charity sales. She was a member of the AAUW, a volunteer at the New Canaan Historical Society and the New Canaan Library, and a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. She was also actively involved in several book clubs, and was once pictured in The New York Times leading a book discussion. Diana was an active bridge, tennis, badminton and croquet player. She loved nothing more than swimming in the ocean and sitting on the beach surrounding by her family at Stone Harbor, NJ, where she had spent many happy summers in her youth. She was a caring mother and dedicated wife.
She is predeceased by her husband, and her son, William Edgar Baker. She is survived by her son, Edward Harbage Baker, his wife Kate and grandson Charles, all of New York City. Also surviving her is her daughter, Jane Baker Pasquini, her husband Dr. John Pasquini, of Charlotte, and her three grandsons, Alexander (Whitney) and Philip of Charleston, SC and David (Meagan) of Houston, TX. Also surviving her is her son, Alfred Harbage Baker of Rock Hill, SC, and daughter, Elizabeth Baker Sapione and her husband John, of Bethel, CT. She also leaves her sister, Penelope “Klara” Manzella of Barrington, RI; brother, Alfred Bennett Harbage Jr. and wife Pat of Severna Park, MD; brother, John Harbage of Cambridge, MA; brother-in-law, John Milnes Baker and wife Liddy of Kent, CT; and many nieces and nephews.
A service of remembrance will be held at Southminster Retirement Community, 8919 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC, on Friday, August 17 at 2:00 pm. A reception will follow at Southminster. A later service will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in New Canaan, CT, on October 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Southminster Community Fund, 8919 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28210, or New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840.
The family would like to thank those staff members who gave compassionate and loving care for her five years at Southminster Retirement Community.
Fond memories and condolences for the family may be shared at www.harryandbryantfuneralhome.com.
- Service of Remembrance Friday, August 17, 2018
- Service in New Canaan, CT Saturday, October 13, 2018
Diana Harbage Baker
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August 10, 2018
I think of Diana every time I drive by the house on Old Stamford Rd, about 4 times a week. She was such a good needlepointer that the back side looked as good as the front side. I remember the beautiful needlepoint pillow on the sofa that was little squares or geometric pieces of all different colors. It was a masterpiece in design. As a member of the New Canaan Sewing Group, I spent many Monday lunchtimes in the nautical themed sunroom., sometimes eating "garbage cake." Diana was an avid knitter. We got her to knit many American Girl Doll sweaters to sell, especially the very popular American Flag sweater which was a copy of Ralph Lauren's flag sweater. Diana was meticulous in any handiwork that she did. I have several of the sewer's chatelaines that she crafted from ribbon and felt or fabric. She made tiny pincushions and needle cases to hang from one end, and a tiny pair of stork scissors hung from the other. Diana was never in a bad mood with us and was a pleasure to work with as we labored over handicrafts to sell for our local charities. I hope she was able to teach some of her skills to some of her family.