Earl Don Baker, the 11th child of the late Thomas Claude, Sr. and Edward Lucille (Cooper) Baker, was born on September 18, 1934 in Blair, Oklahoma, and departed this life suddenly from an apparent aneurysm on October 17, 2020 at the age of 86 years and 29 days while residing at his residence of over ten years, Landmark Villa in Cabool, Missouri.
Earl, better known as “Popsy,” was preceded in death by five brothers, Leroy, Cecil, Clifford, Ira and Tomas Baker, and four sisters, Cleo, Bertha, Jewell and Jessie. Popsy was also preceded by stepdaughter Alice; stepsons, Lonnie Wayne and Jimmy; and wife Janet.
He is survived by his older brother, T.C and wife Peggy of California; special nieces, Cindy, Judy and Gail, as well as many other nieces and nephews.
Popsy moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, in the early 1990s, where he met and married the love of his life, Janet Irene James on August 26, 1994. Together they had almost 12 years of marriage before her passing on August 13, 2006.
Left to mourn his loss are stepdaughters, Linda (James) Shannon and children Tonya and Tracy; Norma Lorriaine and children Alicia, Keith, Matthew and Kelsea, Debbie Blair and children Janet and Carl; and Kathy (Tony) Ipock and children Samantha (Jonathan), Alexis (Henry) and Brooke Ipock. Although the other stepgrands were older, Popsy was the only maternal grandpa that Sam, Lexi and Brooke knew; he was there from the moment of birth and was involved in every monumental stage of their lives. From campouts at the Baker home to weekend trips to Theodosia, he chose to be a true grandpa and will forever live in their hearts.
Popsy enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 17, requiring his older brother TC to sign for him. He traveled to places including Guam, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Africa, retiring after 20 years as a staff sergeant. He didn’t speak much of his time in the Air Force, only mentioning a few times the sorrow of putting out planes on fire, the devastation and loss being too much to speak about.
He was an amazing father-in-law to Tony, once taking a two-week road trip back to California. Tony, aka “the driver,” visited states he would never have seen without Popsy; they were thick as thieves. Popsy found another daughter in Lorrie Ebert after she became Janet’s angel RN with hospice; he will forever be close to her heart.
He leaves behind his extended family at Landmark Villa, best bro, Joey; special friends, Sandy, Paula, Richard, Sharon and Carol just to name a few; special friend, Shaun; as well as his extended church family at Maness Memorial Baptist Church.
Popsy rededicated his life to the Lord on December 10, 2010 and after that transformation, he spoke daily of the Lord, read his Bible, studied fervently, always gave more than he took, enjoyed giving daily candy gifts to anyone who entered his dwelling and always said “I love you” as they left. While flipping through pictures, Sam found an amazing legacy of life. Lexi found in his Bible a bookmarked scripture; Isaiah 41:10. Brooke found he kept every obituary from brothers and sisters gone before him. A sign by his door read “Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, as often as you can.” When asked why he took people to VA appointments, Popsy would simply say, “It’s just a vet helping a vet.”
Graveside services were held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, 2020, with Terry Brown officiating. Interment with full military honors was in Hillcrest Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.