Howard Baker

Howard Adelbert Baker, Sr, 79, of Sweet Home died in his home on Nov. 1, 2008.

He was born March 20, 1929 in Everett, Wash. to Andrew Joshua and Lousia Jane (Liddicoat) Baker.

He was the fourth generation of Bakers out of Alaska. The women would all come down to the “Lower 48” to have their babies, then return to Alaska. His great-grandfather, and grandfather helped portage gold miners over the Chilkoot Pass from 1898-1900. Their main occupation was dairymen; they owned the first dairy in Skagway, Alaska.

As a young child, Mr. Baker lived with his mother and father in Auburn, Wash. His mother died when he was 3 years old, his father raised him, and took him back to Alaska when he was 10 years old. He lived first in Sitka, then Petersburg, then on to Anchorage where he lived for 43 years. He went to Anchorage High School, played varsity basketball and graduated in 1949. He married his high school sweetheart, Alice Chopp, on April 2, 1950.

Mr. Baker had many jobs in Alaska, starting with working on native fishing boats in the summers. After marriage he worked out of the Teamsters hall, driving truck, then he went to Clear, Alaska and worked as a warehouseman and truck driver for RCA Satellite Radar Station for seven years. Then he worked out of the Teamsters hall in Anchorage from then until he was forced to retire due to the completion of the oil pipeline in May 1980.

Mr. Baker moved to Sweet Home, where his wife Alice passed away. He met Jean (Smokey) Roper in 1985. They were married in March 1986. They lived on three acres out in the country, and Mr. Baker took classes from OSU Extension to become a Master Gardener. His greatest passion was his roses, and he taught many classes on the care and raising of them.

He spent 3 1/2 years in the military. He was a member of Sweet Home United Methodist church, and helped in many ways in his church.

Mr. Baker is survived by his wife, Jean Baker; his eight children, Lydia, Richard, Howard,Jr, Thomas, and Susan, all of Anchorage, Alaska, and Steven, Robert and Debora all of Wasilla, Alaska; step-children Tawni of Sweet Home, John of Beavercreek, Robin of Ione, Mark of Milwaukie, and Pam of Rogue River; 15 grandchildren, 14 step-grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and nine step-great-grandchildren.

A “Celebration of Howard’s Life” will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Sweet Home United Methodist Church, 845 6th Ave.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Sweet Home United Methodist Church or Samaritan Evergreen Hospice in Albany.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.