Darrel Lee Baker
December 14, 1955 – July 23, 2020
Darrel Lee Baker was born December 14, 1955 in Elkin, N.C. and died July 23, 2020 in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Born in the mountains of Wilkes County N.C. he lived most of his adult life in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Richmond Virginia in 2005. He attended Wilkes County Community College and completed his bachelors degree at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Masters in Patient Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. In earlier years he worked as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, but in later years he focused on his love of caring for others and prior to his retirement in 2019 he worked as a chaplain at VCU hospital bringing comfort and peace to many.
Darrel was an active member of Grace Baptist Church where he sang in the choir, was a deacon, and taught, prayed, and served faithfully with deep love for all.
His family was central to his life and he delighted in driving back to North Carolina to visit his father Odell Baker in Elkin, his daughter Lauren and her husband Jeff Horton in Fuquay-Varina, his sister Melinda Lyons in Burlington and sister Carolyn Byrd and brother-in-law Gary Byrd in Jonesville. It was a great sadness to him that his mother Norma Jane Darnell Baker and brother-in-law Stephen Lyons died before him and could no longer join the family festivities.
Darrel met his wife, Christine Parker Baker in Richmond, and the deep love they shared was evident to all they encountered. Christine’s children Amy Neal Bussey, Carter Neal and Alanna Betts were embraced as his own, as were their spouses Brent Bussey, Heather Love and Daniel Betts.
He delighted in his grandchildren who range in age from 29 years to 5 months. Grayson and Annabelle Horton; Amber Holmes; Holden and India Neal; Cora Love; Julia, Carter, Wyatt, and Rebecca Bussey; Kieran Brown; and great-grandchild Kinsleigh Lynn Holmes were loved, celebrated, and enjoyed with delight.
Darrel loved the God of grace, love and mercy, and worked to share this joy with everyone. He had the gift of listening deeply to each person’s story with full acceptance. The family describes him as a man of kindness, gentleness, compassion and courage. He also enjoyed all kinds of music, good movies, loved a good (or bad) joke, and brought a sense of fun everywhere he went. This world is a better and kinder place because he lived.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Darrel Lee Baker
Thomas S. Wheeler
July 31, 2020
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Darrel Lee Baker. I will never ever forget him. It was in the fall of 1965 when I first got to know Darrel and his family. I worked at radio station WIFM in Elkin, NC. The radio station was located beside a grocery store operated by Darrel’s mother Norma Jane. I would go to the store every day at lunch and Norma Jane would prepare me a delicious sandwich for lunch. That was not good enough for her so when she prepared dinner for her family, she always set aside a plate for me. Since the radio station and the store were located beside each other, Darrel and his younger sister Melinda, would come over and watch me work. The three of us established a great friendship and a lot of wonderful memories. Darrel was a young boy about nine years at that time. I watched him grow up into a very good young man. Even though I moved on to another station Darrel, his family and I kept in contact with each other. While working at WIFM, Norma Jane asked me be at the store on a Friday afternoon because she wanted to introduce me to someone. Darrel’s oldest sister Carolyn and a friend of hers were in college in Greensboro, NC and they traveled home together. Norma Jane wanted to introduce me to Carolyn’s friend, Barbara. Needless to say I was at the store and Norma Jane and Carolyn introduced Barbara and I. We started dating which we did for a little more than two years, two of which I was in the US Army. We were married in November of 1968. We have remained very close friends with Odell, Carolyn, Melinda and Norma Jane and Darrel until they passed. They were and are very close Christian friends. Barbara and I will always cherish them and hold them near and dear to our hearts.
We will miss Darrel as we do his mother Norma Jane. Their memories will always linger in our hearts and minds. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the family. May God bless and comfort each of you. Scott Wheeler
July 29, 2020
Though I met Darrel but a few times when he visited Carter in Bloomington during graduate school, his generous and loving spirit impressed itself into my memory. During those visits, I was always struck by the ease with which he made everyone feel included and respected, both his family and Carter's friends. I hope the family may find some solace in the fact that he was able to touch people he had just met and did so with unforgettable grace and kindness. The world is a sadder place with his passing. I am sorry for your loss.
July 28, 2020
I am so sorry to read of his passing. I enjoyed talking with him. It was a pleasure to care for him. Carey Reamer, RN
July 27, 2020
I graduated with Darrel from East Wilkes High School. He was my friend. We communicated a few times on Facebook and I always enjoyed talking to his dad at John Boys restaurant. Most importantly to me was that Darrel turned out to be a wonderful man and a true brother in Christ. The last time we spoke, what we talked about most was Jesus. I look forward to worshiping with him around the throne one day soon.
July 26, 2020
So sad to hear about Darrel. He was one of my best friends at East Wilkes and a good friend to many. He so loved being manager of the basketball team. Hanging out downtown or at the Speedy Chef after Friday night games was a weekly ritual of several of us during the winter months. My condolences to his family and friends.
July 26, 2020
In his work at MCV that Darrel kept the most important commandments on a daily basis.
Mark 12:30-31 (NLT) And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
What better legacy could one leave? Godspeed, Darrel.
Tammy Beals Morris
July 26, 2020
Darryl was my bus driver when I was in high school. I’ll never forget his kindness the day I fell UP the bus steps. Everyone else laughed. He put the bus in park to help me. Caught my eye in the mirror and asked if I was ok as we drove on to school. The only thing hurt was my pride.
Melinda, please know I am praying for you and your family. Darryl was a great guy.
July 26, 2020
I remember growing up seeing Darrel around Elkin. He was always a very nice person. I have been keeping up with him with his dad Odell at John Boys. Sorry for your lose but know that heaven has gained another child. Praying for the family.
July 26, 2020
Darrel was a classmate in high school (East Wilkes Class of 1974) and he will be missed by those who loved him I am sure. He was a steady and reliable friend who could always be counted on for unconditional support. My condolences to his Family.