Frank Jay Baker
November 11, 1922 – January 17, 2021
Frank Jay Baker of Dimondale, MI departed this life on January 17, 2021, making it clear he did not anticipate a heavenly landing. Born November 16, 1922, in Lansing, his young life collided with the Great Depression, prompting his enterprising father to try running alcohol from Detroit to Lansing during Prohibition. Unfortunately, this career landed his father in prison, leaving young Frank to support the family by working in fish houses and poultry markets in the summers. Although tuberculous took his mother when he was sixteen, he found solace and joy throughout his life with his lively, extended Swedish family in Erie, PA. Frank recalled being at a roller-skating rink in Lansing with his sister, Ruth, and friends when the bombing of Pearl Harbor was announced, and his life took its next significant turn. Completing his degree at Lansing Central High School, he enlisted in the Army Air Force, serving till the end of the war in the Signal Corp at Brampton Air Force base in England. Frank credits the military with teaching him adaptability, including developing a taste for Army food. A chance encounter with a young woman from South Shields, England, Winifred ‘Wynne’ Rice, led to her becoming an American war bride; but only after a two-year courtship via correspondence, while Frank finished a degree on the GI bill at MSU. The young couple settled in Millett, MI and brought three children into the world. Wynne’s life was cut short by cancer thrusting Frank into single parenthood. A few years later, he asked a neighboring widow with two daughters, Audrey (Huyck) Jupin, on a date and voilà -- a second marriage and a household of seven. To this day his children relish sharing his parenting quips, ‘If Spam was good enough for the US Army, it’s good enough for you kids!’. Frank respected numbers and the law, finding a perfect career match in insurance; eventually becoming Deputy Director of the State of Michigan Insurance Bureau. He and Audrey enjoyed a 50 year love affair with Grand Point Subdivision off the Grand River where they settled in with a band of sociable, water-loving neighbors. Throughout the arc of his life Frank loved this country, his family, doing his own home repairs, travel, debating topics of the day, and telling stories. He is preceded in death by two wives, Wynne (Rice) Baker and Audrey (Huyck) Baker, and a sister Ruth (Baker) Bevan; he is survived by five children, Dean Baker, Linda Jupin-Burke, Diane Baker, Debra (Jupin) Boterf, and Lesley Baker; six grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren. If you knew, or wish you had known, Frank, please toast him with a Manhattan and if you would like to honor his life with a donation, please consider the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. No funeral or memorial plans have been made at this time.
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it …” - Rudyard Kipling
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Frank Jay Baker
January 28, 2021
My condolences to the family, Frank will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Frank and I, and all the guys on the golf league had such a great time together every Tuesday in Williamston. Everyone enjoyed his wry smile and quick wit. Such a card. I loved to banter with him in the clubhouse after the game. First met Frank on a golf trip in Waynesville, NC, where we roomed together; I was able to help him operate the TV. My Dad Oscar and I really looked forward to being teamed with Frank and Dean; the Greatest Generation vs the Boomers! I will always be reminded of Frank when I see his autograph on the treasured Hole-in-One ball that he witnessed.
I loved to hear the different stories of his amazing life while he sipped his favorite libation, he literally witnessed history unfold. What a pleasure to hear his impressions and the many facets of his life. There will never be another guy like him.
See you later Frank!
January 27, 2021
I did not know Frank, but I am incredibly touched by his obituary. I chuckled once or twice. My condolences to Frank's loved ones.
January 25, 2021
Frank was a wonderful man, a fellow U.S. Air Force veteran, and a great neighbor. He always had an interesting story to tell -- especially those about his time in England during World War II. His appreciation for the arts gave many of us the opportunity to attend performances at the Wharton Center and be seated on the main floor.
I will miss him and our talks. Farewell my friend.