Pastor, chaplain, gardener, carpenter, inventor, and fisherman, Louis Baker, was a critical thinker and a man of deep faith and deep reflection on issues of faith. He passed away on May 4 at the age of 93, following several years of living with Parkinson’s disease.
Baker was the ninth child of a farming family in Portland, Mich. After serving the U.S. Navy during World War II, Baker graduated from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary and received an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1954.
Following ordination, Baker served the following churches: Bejou (Minn.) CRC; Rudyard (Mich.) CRC; Holland Center CRC, Lodgepole, S.D.; and Kenosha (Wisc.) CRC. In 1979, he did chaplaincy training at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisc., and went on to establish the Pastoral Care Department at Evanston General Hospital. From 1985 until his retirement in 1990, he pastored Hull CRC in Hague, N.D. The Bakers then moved to a home in the woods of Saugatuck, Mich., where he served as pastor of visitation at Central Avenue CRC and Bethany CRC, both in Holland, Mich. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and was stated clerk of Classis Wisconsin.
Baker had a dry wit and playful sense of humor. He is also remembered as being very frugal. “Beneath that frugality,” his daughter explained, “lay a deep-seated stewardship of God’s creation. He was an early environmentalist. He repaired things, he reused them, he repurposed them, he recycled them. He grew vegetables and in his retirement did some beautiful landscaping around their home. He enjoyed being outdoors, taking long walks, and was a keen observer of God’s creation.”
Baker is survived by Trudy, his wife of 65 years; their four children; six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.