Robert Lee “Bob” Baker was born on April 30, 1946, in La Grande, Oregon. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and enveloped in love, on August 24, 2019. He lived a generous life, befriending all he met and positively impacting the lives of those who came to know and love him. He wanted everyone to know that he had lived a full and fruitful life.
Bob was raised by parents Ferris and Marian Baker, with his siblings Tom, David, and Beverly. He attended Pilot Rock High School, a fitting name for what was to come. After Bob graduated from Oregon State University, he began a journey to fulfill a desire to serve his country.
Bob’s military career began in 1968. In the early years, he attended flight school in Pensacola Florida, where he met and married Lanita Fincher. They would go on to have two children together, Brandi and Courtney.
After he earned his “wings” he embarked on two tours flying the P-3 Orion, an anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. Following this, he commanded a training squadron in Corpus Christi, TX, earned a Masters Degree from the Naval War College in Newport, RI, worked at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and completed tours in the Philippines, Japan, and across the United States. His final orders saw him serve as the Executive Officer of Naval Air Station Sigonella in Catania, Italy, overseeing base operations for 7,500 personnel. During his time there he and his team supported flight operations, maintenance, and weapons support as part of Operation Desert Storm. Bob was awarded the Legion of Merit for his exemplary service, and retired in 1993 at the rank of Captain.
Bob then moved to Spokane, WA, where he embarked on a second career teaching History, Civics, Government and Economics at Ferris High School. He enjoyed sharing lessons and stories with his students and was a well-respected member of the faculty. After 13 years of teaching, Bob retired again in 2009.
Bob was known for and enjoyed nothing more than inviting family and friends over on the spur of the moment for a tri-tip steak on his back deck, where he would often share stories of his navy days, in particular chasing Soviet submarines during the height of the Cold War. His summer railroad job laying track as a youth was a favorite topic, along with his teaching experiences at Ferris High School. During his teaching years and after retirement, he spent many summers camping with family and working on his brother Tom’s farm planting strawberries.
Bob was a loving father and grandfather. He was full of pride for his daughters and grandchildren, constantly doing everything he could to help them all succeed. His generosity of spirit, his kind heart, and his compassion was recognized by all that knew him.
Bob was preceded in death by his father and mother, Ferris and Marian Baker, and his eldest brother, Thomas “Tom” Baker. He is survived by: his daughter Brandi (Baker) Bryden and her husband Andrew of Haymarket, VA, and their children Finley, Jake and Oliver; his daughter Courtney Baker of Spokane, WA and her children Asia, Kaia and Ronin; his brother David Baker and wife Miriam of Mukilteo, WA; his sister Beverly Baker and wife Deborah of Salem, OR; his sister-in-law Gail Baker of Roseburg, OR; and his many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service with military honors will be held at 10:30 a.m. on September 13th, 2019, at Washington State Veterans Cemetery, 21702 W Espanola Rd, Medical Lake, WA 99022.
A reception and celebration of life will follow the service at Bob’s home, 2919 65E Avenue, Spokane, WA 99223 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Generation Alive. https://generationalive.org/
418 W Sharp, Spokane WA 99201