Harrol W. "Bill" Baker
Harrol W. (Bill) Baker died peacefully early Sunday morning Dec. 22nd, 2019 in Sarasota, FL with his wife Pat by his side. He was 94. In addition to his wife, Priscilla (Pat) Baker, he is survived by his three children, Kenneth Baker and his wife Connie of Silver Spring, MD, Thomas Baker of Bolton, CT and Charlotte Baker Dean and her husband John of Abington, PA. He also leaves seven grandchildren - Nathan Baker and his wife Melissa of Washington, DC, Amelia Baker of Palo Alto, CA, Anne Baker and her husband Jon Lorang of Albany, NY, Evan Baker and his wife Lynn of South Pasadena, CA, Silas Baker and his wife Stephanie of Manchester, NH, J.T. Dean and his wife Mary Katherine of Cockeysville, MD and Meredith Dean Stensaas and her husband Rudy of Jaffrey, NH. He also leaves seven great-grandchildren.
Bill Baker was born in Cleveland, OH on Jan. 10, 1925 to Harrol W. Baker, Sr. and Virginia Maud Baker (nee Johnson) He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Emily Ruth Baker, brother David Baker formerly of Rocky River, OH and survived by his sister Virginia (Tertia) Hansen of Lakewood, OH. He graduated from Lakewood High School and attended Oberlin College before enlisting in the U.S. Navy where he served on two different LST ships (no. 869 and no.1027) in the South Pacific during World War II between 1943 and 1946. He learned navigation and was given a great deal of responsibility for that on board. He was given an honorable discharge as Electrician 3rd class.
Bill moved from Ohio to Hartford, CT to sell and distribute a powdered baby formula created by his father. It was there he met Emily Ruth Eagles and they were married from July 1st, 1950 until her death in 1994. They settled in Newington, CT and together raised three children before moving to Bolton, CT. There, they ran a Youth Hostel for several years hosting many bicyclists. He worked for Travelers Insurance Co. as both a programmer and a systems analyst where he developed an equation to calculate the shortest distance to send data over phone lines.
Bill married Pat Dooley in 1996 and they spent their time between Bolton, CT, Friendship ME and Sarasota, FL. During that time, Bill became the father to Pat’s children - Susan, Phil Jr., Christine, Kate and Jonathan and grandfather to their children.
Bill’s greatest passion after his family was sailing. He spent as much time as weather and obligations permitted on his sailboat Kairos sailing the waters of Muscongus Bay in Maine. He was extraordinarily good at dead reckoning - an old-school method of navigation that takes into account wind, tide, current, time and speed. He could sail in dense fog and know exactly where he was at all times. He applied that same skill even when he wasn’t sailing.
Bill Baker leaves behind a legacy of service - to his family, his community and his country. He was a deacon at the Newington Congregational Church, an active member of Bolton Congregational Church, (he also sang in both church choirs) an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 355, a member of Civitan, a 32nd degree Mason, a director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Like Will Rogers, he never met a man he didn’t like. He was very generous with his time. Like a good Scout, he helped other people at all times. His family and friends loved him dearly. We will do our best to honor his legacy by following his example.