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Hanes Lineberry Funeral Home

515 North Elm Street, Greensboro, NC

OBITUARY

Cleta Baker

July 13, 1921October 26, 2019

Cleta Baker, died the way she livedas a devoted servant of God. Cleta was found on Saturday kneeling at her bedside, with hands folded in prayer dead at age 98.

Although a petite elder at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, she worked her entire life for comprehensive social justice and peaceful reforms. "Let justice roll like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream" was one of her favorite scriptures.

Cleta's father and grandfather were both coal miners in rural Iowa and yet she attended college and seminary in the 1940's and early 1950's. Throughout her life, Cleta advocated for racial reconciliation unusual for a Midwestern white woman in the 1940's. Cleta was a trailblazer her entire life.

Cleta, liberal politically and theologically, would not "stand down" if confronted with a varying point of view. She told stories about being in seminary when professors addressed the class as "you men" and refused to look at the few women in class. She knew Martin Luther King, Jr. while he was working on his doctorate at Boston University and she helped educate young people about the sit-ins in the south in the early 1960's. Cleta took vacation time to support Peter Beebe, an Anglican priest being tried in Ecclesiastical Court for hiring, as his assistants, two women irregularly ordained as priests in Philadelphia.

She worked at the YWCA and educated whomever she could about institutional racism. She marched with Caesar Chavez, an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association which later became the United Farm Workers.

Since coming to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Cleta had been a member of the Diocesan Racial Justice Committee and Christian Social Ministries. Cleta remained radical and hopeful throughout her whole life.

Those of us who knew her and loved her will miss her smile, her suggestions for improving all things, and her gold standard for everything she did up until the very end of her life. Cleta's family include a niece Becky Tuttle and nephew William Baker both of whom live in Florida.

We want to thank her beloved physician, Eric. L Dean, who was Cleta's confidante and advocate.

A service of celebration of her life will be at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 607 N. Greene Street, November 7th at 2 pm with a reception after the service in Broome Hall. Memorials can be made to her church, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Services

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Cleta Baker

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