"Bill" Baker

By Chris Collins December 12, 2011 07:06 pm

Billy Ray “Bill” Baker, 70, of Baker City died Dec. 4, 2011, at Baker City.

His memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel. Pastor Garth Johnson will officiate.

Bill was born on April 17, 1941, at Freck, Ark., to Eli and Letha Mae Baker. After leaving high school he joined the U.S. Navy for five years and then enlisted in the U.S. Army for another 10 years where he completed his GED.

After completing his military service, he was a river guide on the Buffalo and White rivers in Arkansas for 14 years. He then became a deputy sheriff for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at Bowling Green Ark. After leaving the sheriff’s office, he became a long-haul truck driver until his retirement.

Bill and Jewel were married on March 16, 1994, at Mexico, Mo. They lived in several states before they found Baker City and decided to call it home.

Bill loved the mountains and he enjoyed taking his sweetheart for rides throughout the Elkhorns, family members said. He especially enjoyed watching the elk, antelope, deer and mountain goats that are abundant in Baker County.

He and Jewel became members of Eastern Oregon Miners and Prospectors Inc. (EOMP) where they learned the finer techniques of gold mining. His favorite camping spot was on EOMP’s mining claim at Auburn.

While members of EOMP, he and Jewel found many new friends with folks from around the country. He had recently joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Survivors include his wife, Jewel Baker of Baker City; daughters, Penny (Steven) Cole of Dallas, Texas, Emily Crane of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Jenna (Nathan) Sifford of Rockall, Texas; son, Phillip (Barbie) Ayer of Newark, Ohio; one brother, James Baker of Harrison, Ark.; and 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and two sisters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Paralyzed Veterans through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.