“You are the most humble, honest, and unpretentious pastor I have ever known,” said Ron Baker’s brother-in-law at Baker’s memorial service. “Only God knows the hundreds or thousands you have led to Jesus . . . with no fanfare. Your legacy is a holy one.” Baker died May 5.
Born in South Dakota, Baker’s family moved to California when he was 17 years old. After becoming a Christian at age 25, Baker was known for a particular cross he wore around his neck. Made of square nails about four inches long that symbolize the type of nails used in crucifixions, Baker was never seen in public without that cross.
After graduating from Calvin College (now University) and Seminary, Baker was ordained in 1971 and pastored Eastern Hills Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. He went on to serve Bravo Community Church in Fennville, Mich.; Ocheyedan (Iowa) CRC; and Covenant CRC in Grand Ledge, Mich. He then served as chaplain to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at My Brother’s House III (now Brothers and Sisters Homes) in Holland, Mich.
After retirement in 2003 until 2019, Baker served part time as associate pastor at Messiah CRC in Hudsonville, Mich. He and his wife volunteered with World Renew doing needs assessments in disaster areas. Proficient in auto mechanics, people said that Baker could make any old car run again, and he blessed many by doing so. Baker said his best sermons were made under the hood of a car.
He will be lovingly remembered by Dena, his wife of 57 years, their three children and spouses, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.