The Rev. William A Baker, Jr., 1920-2013
Sad news received from the Rev. Beverly Van Horne, serving as transitional pastor at Trinity Church CWE, on December 27, 2013:
Our beloved Bill Baker, Associate Priest at Trinity, died this morning with family at his bedside. I know you join me in giving thanks for his life, and in offering the family our deepest condolences. "Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting. May Bill's soul and the souls of all the righteous through the mercy of God rest in peace."
The Memorial Service for the Rev. Bill Baker will be at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, January 4 at 2 pm, Bishop Smith presiding. A reception will follow.
The Burial Service for Bill will be at Trinity CWE on Sunday, January 5 at 2pm. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Trinity Episcopal Food Ministry, 600 North Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108 or The Educational Center, 1801 East Fifth St., Suite 210, Charlotte, NC, 28204.
In the June 2006 edition of Trinity's newspaper, Bill and his wife Fritzi were the subject of a profile:
Bill and Fritzi (a.k.a. Ann Catherine) were married in Cincinnati, OH in 1973. Before they got to that point in their lives went something like this. Bill was born and grew up in the hills of Tennessee, near Knoxville. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and then worked as a police officer who had a knack for taking dictation on a typewriter. Thus he became secretary to the captain of the Capitol Police Force and often got to escort President Franklin D., Roosevelt to the door of Congress. He finished college at the University of Virgina before World War II and became a Navy flyer during the war. After the war, married, with two children, and still in Columbus, he went into the custom tailoring business, while also being sales manager at an auto agency. Something else was tugging at him however.
Bill grew up in the First Christian Church, but had been attracted to the smells and bells of the Episcopal Church he visited with cousins in Louisville. He was later confirmed Episcopalian, and then, in the early 60s attended and graduated from Bexley Hall Seminary in Kenyon, OH. After ordination in 1962, he first served at the Church of St. Thomas in Cincinnati.
Fritzi, a “cradle Episcopalian” grew up in Cincinnati. When asked about the name that most of us call her, she said that when her mother was pregnant the baby she was carrying was referred to as “Fritz.” Upon arrival that got changed to Fritzi, however and, obviously, it stuck! Hollins College in Virginia (which she proudly says is still an all-girls’ school) took her away from the mid-West. After graduation she studied art history and painting at the Art Students’ League in New York City before returning to Cincinnati and working for a graphic arts studio in that city. Then came marriage and motherhood. The church her family attended was the Church of St. Thomas where she came to know Bill.
Several years later, Bill moved on to become to become rector of St. John’s in Worthington, OH near Columbus. Eventually Bill and Fritzi, both of whom were now divorced, renewed their friendship and were married in 1973. They headed for St. Louis where Bill had been hired as Associate Director of the Educational Center. This organization began here in 1845 as the Episcopal Home for Children with funds given by Henry Shaw. In the 1930s its name was changed to the current one and there is no longer an Episcopal connection.
Fritzi found work as Director of Religious Education at Church of the Good Shepherd under the Rev. Claudius Miller. Fritzi later became President of the Board of the Ed Center and is still working there in the Bible study program called The Bible Workbench.
In the mid-70s Bill became associated with the Church of St. Michael and St. George and worked as a priest there for about a decade. Since then he has done interim work in Pike County and a lot of supply work in the St. Louis area. Bill got to know Trinity through our long-time rector Bill Chapman, who had many connections with the Ed Center and its staff. During the Rev. Jennifer Phillips’ tenure here, Bill Baker became a frequent Rite I celebrant at the 8 a.m. Sunday service and now, of course, he is an affiliate along with the Rev. Michael Randolph.
Fritzi is well-ensconced here too, serving faithfully as one of the altar personnel on Sundays. Because she was unable to acolyte like the “guys” in the Cincinnati church of her youth, she says she in enjoying being in this rotation immensely. Here at Trinity, as well as within the diocese, both Bakers have an intense interest in and actively support OASIS. Becoming a part of OASIS was a non-issue says Fritzi, who was stunned at how much of an issue it has turned out to be for our national church. Bill says it is his observation that most people here at Trinity “have a pretty good sense of who they are, which is really affirming for me.”
Bill and Fritzi jointly have “almost” 11 grandchildren, with one on the way. Fritzi enjoys Yoga, and has for some 30 years. Bill says he has always enjoyed business and has a real passion for writing. We anxiously await to see what happens next in the busy lives of two of our most enthusiastic parishioners – Bill and Fritzi Baker!