Community Honors The Memory Of John Baker

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

December 17, 2005

Hundreds from the community gathered in honor and loving memory of former Albemarle County school board member, John E. Baker. His Celebration of Life ceremony was held this weekend, where everyone explained how he meant so much to so many.

"I'll miss you know being able to kiss his lips and hear him call me his little girl," said his daughter Beverly Baker.

That's one of the many things Beverly Baker says she'll miss most about her father. "My father, wow, a great guy, an officer and a gentlemen, a friend of education," she explained.

John E. Baker was Albemarle County's first African American school board member, and he leaves a tremendous legacy.

In 2002, Albemarle County's newest elementary school was named Baker-Butler in his honor, and now students who've never even met him, know of his passion for education.

"His legacy lives on in the building and the children inside this building," Beverly said.

Students aren't the only ones Baker influenced.

"He would always expect excellence and his commitment was such that inspired others to follow," said Albemarle County Superintendent Kevin Castner.

Castner describes Baker as a humble man, one he could always count on to do the right thing.

"John Baker was more than one of my bosses, he was a mentor, a colleague, and probably most importantly, a friend."

A friend that will deeply be missed not only by his friends and family, but an entire school system.

In addition to the school board, Baker was also very involved with the American Red Cross, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Madison House of UVA and the African American Teaching Fellows Program.

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