He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Gladys Baker, infant sister Alice, and beloved grandson Bradley.
He is survived by wife Jean; daughter Eileen Scrivener and husband Mitch, and grandchildren, Paige and Hunter; son Mike and his fiancé Sherri Orr, and her children Kayla, Megan and Derek.
Born on December 7, 1929, Don was raised in a farming area of New York State. He was plowing with a team of horses when he was ten years old. When he wasn’t in school or helping with farm work, he was playing basketball or shooting woodchucks. Upon high school graduation he went to Alfred State University for a two-year Rural Engineering Degree. He learned to repair most farm machinery and worked at a John Deere dealership until Uncle Sam was on the way to draft him in the Army. This didn’t suit Don, so he hurriedly joined the Air Force instead in 1950. He proudly served his country for four years and took great pleasure in fishing and hunting in Washington State and Canada. He appreciated the sights of all the places he traveled to worldwide as he crew chiefed his B-29 and B-36 aircraft. After his discharge in 1954 he decided to go to Parks College in East St. Louis to get a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In August 1957 Don and I married. It was not a love at first sight romance but lasted happily for 55+ years. Don graduated in April 1958 and we moved to, of all places, Tennessee. Here is where we raised Mike and Eileen. It was here that Don worked in the most important and challenging field of the time and he truly loved his work. In his lifetime he participated in and watched every sport involving a ball. He dragged me kicking and crying into the game of golf and with determination and patience he gave me the ability to join anyone in any of our many golf outings. He taught our children the values he was brought up with and taught them, as much as they would listen to, how to fix anything that was broken. He was not one to throw away anything that could be repaired. Don retired from his engineering job in January 1992. In the nineties his body was invaded by a muscle disease that prevented him from living as he wished, but he quickly became an avid reader, tenacious puzzle worker, and he wore out the Western channel. In 2008 he developed a tumor in his pelvic bone and after surgery and treatments he was further limited and dealt with constant pain for over four years. In spite of the changes he had to make, he never lost his sense of humor, he never felt sorry for himself, and he continued to entertain us with stories from his very full and worthwhile life.
Don will be cremated and we will have a family memorial service at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens at a later date.
In lieu of visitation, please hug your loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, please send gifts to Hospice Compassus in honor of the loving caregivers who have become like family and have helped Don and me so kindly. The family would also appreciate donations to the First Methodist Church in Don’s memory.
Kilgore Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.