ROSEWOOD HEIGHTS - WWII Veteran William D. “Bill” Baker, formerly of Jersey County, died at 10:44 p.m., Friday, May 1, 2020 at Edwardsville Care Center of complications related to the coronavirus. He was 96.
Bill, affectionately known by his siblings as ‘Billy Dan,’ lived a long and active life and loved being surrounded by his children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He really enjoyed watching old movies and baseball; he was especially passionate about cheering on the Chicago Cubs. Bill loved to take his family on yearly "two-week vacations" when his kids were young, a tradition he continued for years after the children began to move away. He would drive "amazing distances" with as many as 14 family members in the car, pitch two tents at the end of each day, then get up the next day and drive another 300 miles. Although there are many camping stories from over the years, one of the most memorable was the "Yellowstone experience." In that incident, Bill and his family were awakened one night by a bear trying to get into one of their tents! He bravely got up, and with a broom raised high above his head, he yelled to the bear, "leave my kids alone!" His family has so many fun, funny, happy and poignant memories of him.
Chuck, as he was playfully known to his kids and grandkids, had a favorite pastime of playing cards with anyone brave enough to think they could take him on. Poker and pinochle were two of his favorites, but there wasn’t a card game he didn’t enjoy. He was a master card counter and never turned down an opportunity to play.
BIll served in the US Army as an amphibious engineer in the South Pacific under Admiral Halsey during WWII. Following boot camp at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, he served in major assaults on Morotai Island in Indonesia, in the Netherlands, the East Indies, Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippine Islands, and eventually in Osaka, Japan. Upon discharge he married June E. Hendy and began a family. He worked various jobs as a supply manager and as a distribution specialist, before he began his career at the US Post Office, where he remained until he retired in 1984.
Bill is survived by all 12 children: Deacon Dennis (Kathy) Baker of Carlinville, Ellen Hickman of York PA, Keith (Theresa) Baker of Haiti, William (Pat) Baker Jr of Cleveland TX, Timothy (Sue) Baker of Gillespie, June (Bassam) Shakhashiri of Madison WI, Steve Baker of St Louis MO, Marcia (Mike) Rexford of East Alton, Jay (Nancy) Baker of Dorsey, Kathleen (Kristin Russell) Baker of Boston MA, Karen (Clinton) Lyles of Bedia TX, and Julie (Wayne) Eck of Affton MO. He also leaves behind 44 grandchildren, 90 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren. Bill’s surviving siblings include Eugena Leisch of North Carolina, Marilu Back of Alton, and Ramon (Monie) Baker of Florissant MO.
Preceded in death by wife June E. Hendy and son Rodney Baker; siblings James, Richard, Robert, and Stanley; and grandsons Kyle Baker, Corey Baker, Dwayne Rexford, and Nathaniel Lyles.
We miss you so much Dad, you will be in our hearts forever.
Due to mandates surrounding COVID-19, private graveside services will be held at the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Jerseyville. For those who desire, live streaming of will be available by visiting the Crawford Funeral Home Facebook page at approximately 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
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