Donald Baker ’55

Donald Albert Baker went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 18, 2023. He was residing at the Diamond Care Center in Bridgewater, SD at the time of his death. Don was born April 28, 1933 in St Anne, IL to Albert & Catherine Baker. Growing up, Don lived in several towns in the Midwest. He looked fondly upon his time living in Grandview, SD, where he met his future wife. He was only three years old at that time, so they would have to wait a few years to meet again. When Don was 13 years old, his father became seriously ill. Don and his mother traveled by train with his bedridden father to Holland, MI to be near his older siblings. His dad died shortly after they arrived. Don received his bachelor’s degree from Hope College. The summer after graduation Don met Arla for the second time, after she had moved to Holland. Don attended medical school for one year at the University of Michigan. He wanted to serve his country, so instead of waiting to get drafted, he enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in San Francisco and specialized as a Medical Technologist. Don and Arla Ligtenberg were married on August 13, 1957 in Corsica, SD. They spent their first year of marriage in San Francisco while Don finished his Army tour. Don was honorably discharged in 1958 and remained active duty in the Army Reserves for four years. Don and Arla moved back to Michigan so he could earn his teaching certification at Hope College. During this time their daughter Janice was born. Don took his first teaching job in Lake Mills, IA at the local High School. Their daughter Jean was born while living there. Don and his family moved to Sioux Falls, SD, where he would spend the next 30 years teaching physics and biology classes at Washington High School. He earned a master’s degree plus 30 from USD in science while continuing teaching. Don was a long time member at Sioux Falls First, where he served on the church board for several terms. He also had a Christian Bookstore in his basement and he shipped books and bibles around the world. Don enjoyed teaching Adult Sunday school, Bible studies and Life Groups through most of his adult life. He liked to camp, fish, hunt and take photos. He was a master of fixing things instead of throwing them away, re-purposing broken items, fixing cars and he was an expert in solving equations on his slide rule. He sometimes would navigate by looking at the stars and noting the time of night. Don had a dry sense of humor. He was telling Dad jokes before they were called Dad jokes. Don built an addition to his garage to store his fishing boat, many supplies and future projects. One of his goals was to write his life story. His book is titled Refired, Not Retired. Blessed for having shared his life are his wife Arla for 65 years and his daughters Janice (Steven) Lee and Jean Baker; his grandsons Nathan (Alyssa) Lee and Trevor (Isabella) Lee; great grandchildren Taylor & Jaxon Lee and Aurora Lee; sister-in-law Florence Baker and many nieces & nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Wilma DeVries, Paul and Marvin.

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