Rev. J. Lee Baker, 78, of Centerville, a retired clergy member of the Conference serving on the pastoral staff at Titusville First United Methodist Church, died May 27, 2020 at his home.
Born on December 11, 1941, the son of George and Helen Baker, he graduated from high school in Linesville, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. Degree in elementary education from Kent State University in Ohio; a Masters Degree in Education from Clarion University; and an Administrative Certification from Edinboro University. He taught and served as principal in Tidioute, Pennsylvania for 29 years, retiring in 1997. In September of 1963, he married Marjory Dudley of Conneaut, Ohio, who survives.
Lee always found joy in the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, family horse trail riding, and working with the Boy Scouts of Northeast Ohio at Tidioute and for Camp Olmsted near Warren. He taught many years of hunter safety classes and volunteered to teach in many other outdoor venues. He and Margie also served as youth leaders at the Pleasantville UMC.
Having completed Duke Divinity School's Course of Study, Lee was ordained as a Deacon in the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. He served the United Methodist congregations of Spartansburg, Grand Valley, Sanford, Deckards, Sugar Lake and Lander until retiring in 2005. Continuing in the ministry, he served part-time in Townville, Troy Center, Blooming Valley, Pleasantville, and was currently on staff at the Titusville First United Methodist Church. He loved to tell the Story of Jesus in sermons and children's messages.
Lee was known to be a servant of his God and man. He was always helping others. He worked with Wesley Woods UMC camp as Board Chairman and dean of bicycling and canoeing camps. An avid bicycle rider, he rode in the MS150 Bike Tour for 17 years, raising funds for MS research, and the past two years, he participated in the WPAUMC Campership Bike-a-Thon, riding from Boston UMC near McKeesport to Washington, D.C. to raise funds for Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi's Camping Initiative to fund camp scholarships and facility needs.
Lee started and led the handicapped ramp ministry in his Titusville church. Lee enjoyed the work and fellowship of the Over the Hill Gang, who maintained the Oil Creek State Park trails. Being an avid bicycle rider, he rode in the MS150 Bike Tour for 17 years, raising funds for MS research.
Many enjoyed his woodcarvings, especially his songbirds; he and his wife were avid backyard birvald watchers. They loved camping and visited Benezette, Pennsylvania yearly to see the elk. Alaska and the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee were favorite destinations for travel. Lee loved being a father and grandfather.
In addition to his wife, he will be sadly missed by his two sons: Jeffrey (and Luwaina) Baker of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania; Jason (and Robin) Baker of Newport, Pennsylvania. His beloved grandchildren are: Jacob and Isabel Baker and Tristan and Conlin Baker. A loving sister, Pamela Gee, of Saegertown, Pennsylvania survives.
Besides his parents he was preceded in death by three sisters, Glenda Mackay, Diana Hanson, and Sharon Oskin.
Friends may have the opportunity for a viewing on Saturday, May 30 from 1-3 p.m. at the Tryonville Cemetery by driving by the gravesite where family will be acknowledging visitors. For social distancing, visitors shall remain in their cars while greeting the family.
Private interment for the family will follow. A celebration of Lee's life will be announced at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to the Titusville First United Methodist Church, the Ramps of Hope of Titusville UMC, or Hospice of Crawford County.
The Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home, Inc. 303 N. Washington St. Titusville, PA 16354 is in charge of arrangements.