In Memory

Robert Baker - Class Of 1953

Robert Baker


Robert Baker, Sr

Jan. 19, 1935 - May 5, 2020

SOUTH BEND, IN - Robert Baker, Sr. entered eternal life on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, peacefully at home. His spirit is carried on by his devoted and loving wife of 62 years, Amy L. Shorter (Baker) whom he married on August 8, 1957; loving children, Robert (Betty) Baker, Jr. (South Bend), Rhonda A. Baker (Arlington, VA), Dr. Elaine L. Baker (Roswell, GA), and Kimberly (preceded him in death) (Ronnie) Staggers (South Bend), 8 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Robert was born on January 19, 1935, in Aberdeen, Mississippi to Cleveland Baker and Christine Murry (Arthur Lawrence). He graduated from Okolona, Mississippi Junior High School in 1951. His family moved to South Bend, IN, that same year, and he attended and graduated from South Bend Central High School in 1953.

Robert's legacy is his unwavering faith in Christ, love and support for family (biological family as well as extended Church family and friends), strong work ethic, and a benevolent spirit. He greeted all with his noted smile, a conversation, and a helping hand. Robert was a faithful, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, brother-in law, friend, and neighbor.

He gave his life to Christ at an early age, and after moving from Okolona to South Bend, he joined Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, where he served as a dedicated member of the Usher Board for 66 years, and was elected President of the Board for more than 25 of those years.

Robert loved to bring his family together for fellowship. Starting in 1969, he led the Whitfield Family Annual Reunion (Whitfield Family from White Rock Road, Aberdeen, Mississippi) that is hosted by family members in locations through the United States. He served as a family historian, and spent countless hours researching and retelling the Whitfield and Baker's family histories.

His strong work ethic started at the early age of 11 years old, when he began delivering groceries on his bike, for Taylor's Grocery store in Okolona, MS. Immediately after graduating from Central High School, he began working for South Bend Lathe, Inc., then joined the U.S. Army and served as an Army Reservist for 5 years, while remaining with Lathe for 18 years. During his tenure with Lathe, he was a member of its bowling league. After leaving Lathe, Robert joined the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and retired after 26 years of service. After retiring from NIPSCO, Robert went on to drive for MDS Priority Delivery Service for an additional 18 years.

Survivors left to cherish his memory include his immediate family named above, eight grandchildren, Robert R. Baker, III, Terrance L. Baker, Sr., Jacques (Robert) Horton, Alise Baker, Ronald A. Staggers, Jr., Christopher L. Baker, Kyrstin A. C. Staggers, and Kennetha Anderson; two sisters, Mary Alice Hyde (South Bend) and Evelyn Gardner (Aberdeen, MS), and a host of beloved great- and great-great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Cleveland Baker, and Christine and Arthur Lawrence; a daughter, Kimberly S. Staggers, a grandson, Jermaine Baker, a great-grandson, Kyron Baker; and siblings, Doris Davis, Grover C. and Willie C. Baker, and William Lawrence, Sr.

Due to COVID 19, a public viewing is scheduled for Friday, May 8, 2020, from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at Palmer Funeral Home - West Chapel, 2702 Lincoln Way West, South Bend. Please note that a facial mask is required and no more than 25 attendees may gather in the funeral home at one time. A private funeral service is planned for the family and invited attendees. Full version of obituary can be found on the funeral home's website.
05/08/2020 JFC