CHADWICK – James Lyle Blair Baker, 73, of Chadwick, passed away Saturday, June 14, 2014, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
Whatever you preferred to call him – Jim, Bake, Dad, Uncle, Grandpa – he lived a remarkable life. He was born July 27, 1940, in Savanna, the first child of James and Virginia (Lynch) Blair of Lanark. At age 8, Jim’s mother passed away, leaving him, his father, and siblings to fend at a time when a mother ran the home. In an effort to help the family, his best friend’s mother and father took him in at age 11. He spent the remainder of his childhood as James Blair Baker, being adopted by Howard and Deloris (Harger) Baker.
Jim graduated from Prophetstown High School in 1958, and went on to study engineering at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After a short time, Jim left college and returned home to marry Paula Nadine Church of Prophetstown, his high school sweetheart. Jim and Paula moved to Fairhaven, and were blessed with two children, Margo (William) Weber of Chadwick and James (Laura) Baker of Stillman Valley.
Jim was very dependable, a man who believed in the value of hard work. He and Paula farmed together for many years, raising cattle, hogs, and grain. Ups and downs followed; Jim also worked for General Electric Co. in Morrison on the assembly line and Johnson’s Feed in Mount Carroll, running sprayers and a nurse truck. In 1993, Jim went to work as a mechanic for Curtis and Sons in Lanark. Jim’s fingernails always were dirty; he could fix any bailer, combine, or planter you put in front of him. He retired in 2007, and since worked part time for Woessner Farms in Milledgeville, driving truck.
Jim and Paula were blessed with four grandchildren. They spent countless hours warming bleachers at choir concerts, football games, wrestling matches, and dance recitals. Jim loved to work in his garden, fish, play cards, crossword puzzles, and watch the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears play ball. He loved a good laugh, and you could always count on him for a dirty joke. He lived his life on his own terms and enjoyed many great moments. He will be missed.
Jim leaves behind his wife and children; grandchildren, Heidi (Jason) Weber-Hall of Shelbyville, Tyler (Monica) Baker of Sycamore, Melody (Christopher Stauffer) Weber of Chadwick, and Kaitlyn Baker of Hoboken, New Jersey; one step-great-grandchild, Trey Hall; his stepmother, Nelda Baker of Freeport; several siblings, Carl (Jan) Blair, Pat (Phil) Gerbitz, Diana DeGroot, Michael (Sharon) Welker, Don Welker, Brenda (Ed) Higley, Glenda (Hollie Renfro) Stamper, and Byron (Pat) Baker; and many nieces and nephews.
Jim joins his family in heaven, his father and mother, James and Virginia Blair; his father and mother, Howard and Deloris Baker; his stepmother, Juanita Blair; his brother, LeMoyne Baker; and his stepsister, Sandra Welker.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Frank-Law-Jones Funeral Home in Mount Carroll. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will be at in Chadwick Cemetery.
A memorial has been established.
Visit lawjonesfuneralhome.com to send condolences.