El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley & El Camino Memorial Park
5600 Carroll Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA
James Asa BAKER
October 8, 1934 – June 22, 2020
James A. Baker exited the earth, or as he called it, “The Rock” peacefully on June 22, 2020. He lived his life colorfully and within a sweet and sour paradigm in which he was both an optimist in matters of the heart and a pessimist in the way he related to the world around him. Throughout the decades of his life he would declare to family members that he wouldn’t live past 30, 40, then 50 years and so on. As he would say with a wry twinkle in his eye, that thanks to Murphy’s Law he had yet again made it one more year. Many a time we have often heard him exclaim, “I gotta get off this rock!”. James “Jim” Baker was born in Saint Louis Missouri on October 8th, 1934 to Asa James and Edith Viola Baker. He was the oldest of three children including Robert and Sharon Baker. He attended an all-boys Catholic School and graduated high school. In school he had a penchant for pulling pranks and was often in trouble. He enjoyed telling the story of how he emptied the school room trashcan out the second story window to find that the contents had landed on the head of the school principal who happened to be walking by. This blend of humor, mischievousness and storytelling would continue to evolve and become part of his character throughout his life. The Baker family moved to California when Jim was in his late teens and took up residence in San Diego on Clara Lee Street in Grantville. He spent a few years in the US Navy and afterwards learned a trade and became a carpet layer working with a prominent local designer in places such as the iconic Hotel Del Coronado and Westgate Hotel. In his spare time, he enjoyed frequenting the local Grantville pub “Pal Joeys” with his brother Bob who later introduced Jim to Shirley Precise. The two quickly became inseparable and married a few years later. Jim and Shirley moved to Santee in the early 1970’s and raised a family. Jim was devoted to Shirley and when she passed away in 1995 he became fairly reclusive spending much of his time listening to his eclectic and extensive music collection, reminiscing about their life together and caring for his grandchildren from time to time. On occasion he liked to entertain himself by frequenting local thrift stores and collecting framed art posters and decorating each room of his house in a different theme. Jim was generous at heart and had a soft spot for those he perceived as the “underdogs” in life. He took pity on those less fortunate than himself and invited a few veterans who were homeless to live with him to allow time for them to get back on their feet. His generosity lasted as long as his patience and when he thought they were ready, he sent them on their way. He had a gruff exterior which often served as a smoke screen to his kinder interior. He was both a curmudgeon and loving father and he will be missed. Jim is survived by his sister Sharon Hoffman, his three children, Kim, Mike and Steve and his grandchildren Cailyn Stine, Jessica Stine, Jenna Baker, Patrick Baker, Riley Baker, and great grandson, Theodore Powers. Jim was also proud of and cared for by his wonderful daughter and son in laws including Holly Baker, Trisha Baker, Rick Wilson, and Anthony Powers. It took our collective family village to care for him and we are all the better for it in the memories we’ve made and in the times we shared together
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley
James Asa BAKER
July 11, 2020
I am so thankful that we were so close. I know people may think you were grumpy, but you were the best part of my day as a child. You were my personal chauffeur, dance teacher, play writer, “chef” and in house comedian. I’m going to miss sitting with you, listening to music and looking out at all the lights over Santee. We would sing together, cry together, talk about Amma and all of your memories as a child. You showed me all the best movies! Every time I smell chocolate cake I think of you. You’re the funniest man I know. Fashion sense out of this world and a hairspray collection only a hairstylist would have. You were a great human. Give Amma a hug for me. Thank you for teaching me the importance of being myself. You never judged me. I miss you so much Papa. The world feels different without you.
You’ll always be my friend.
Amigos para siempre.
I love you Papa,
July 11, 2020
Thank you Dad for the memories, life lessons and love you gave. I will miss your random phone calls, your sense of humor, laughter and smile, your singing wherever and whenever. I’ll miss seeing how proud you were of us.
Knowing you’re with mom gives me peace.
Love you guys