George Watson Baker, age 76, of Glenwood, passed away at his home on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. A retired merchant and farmer, George was a descendant of Pike County and Montgomery County pioneers.
He was born on July 26, 1941 in Little Rock, the son of Pierce Russell Baker and Magdalene Goodman Baker. George spent his younger years growing up in Glenwood swimming and fishing in the Caddo River and hunting and riding horses in the surrounding Ouachita Mountains he loved so well.
In 1959, he graduated from Glenwood High School, spent one year at the University of Arkansas at Monticello before transferring to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. George majored in Business and Agricultural Engineering, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1964.
On September 1, 1963, he married Nancy Ruth Griffin at Central Baptist Church in Fayetteville. Their honeymoon was spent at Lake Greeson near his home in Glenwood.
On October 24, 1966, Uncle Sam made his call and Vietnam was in the picture. After basic training, George went to Officers Candidate School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia and he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant on August 18, 1968. He and Nancy spent eleven months in Fort Lee, Virginia before he left for Vietnam where he would serve for over a year.
After returning home from active duty, he and Nancy lived in Fayetteville for about a year and their first child, Sabra, was born. Longing to return home, with the help of his mother and business partner, George opened the OTASCO Store in the fall of 1971 in Glenwood. He loved the business and his customers who he would come to know personally through the years. He was awarded OTASCO’s “Dealer of the Year” in 1977, an award that recognized just one outstanding businessman in this nationwide company.
In 1978, a second child was born to George and Nancy and they named him John Mark.
After a number of years in business and changes in the economy, George embarked into agriculture, working his chicken farm and two laying houses which kept him busy day and night. He also worked at the Glenwood Country Club Golf Course. He always invited the boys that worked with him over for lunch because he knew his Nancy was a great cook!
George was saved and baptized on July 12, 1953 and became a member of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Through the years, he served as a deacon, teacher, treasurer, cemetery spokesman, light bulb changer, trash man and took on any other job that needed to be done. He was always ready to serve. The perpetuity of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church was always of utmost importance to him. George spoke many times how the Lord had so richly blessed his family and he was undoubtedly a rich blessing to many others.
George is survived by his wife Nancy Ruth Baker, of Glenwood; his daughter and son-in-law, Sabra Lynn and Bryan Boyd of Liberty, Missouri; his son and daughter-in-law, John Mark and Nikki Baker; his grandchildren that he dearly loved, Jesse, Frank and Luke Baker, all of Glenwood; his brother, Russell P. Baker of Mablevale; and many cousins, extended family and host of friends and neighbors.
Services were held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, January 6, 2018, in the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church with Bro. Keith Shewbart and Bro. Harold Turner officiating.
Visitation was on Friday, 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM, at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
Interment was in Bethel Cemetery under the direction of Davis-Smith Funeral Home, Glenwood. Military honors were conducted by the Honor Guard of the United States Army.
Pallbearers will be Frank Baker, Luke Baker, Matt Baker, Adam Baker, Don Baker and David Baker.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, PO Box 315, Glenwood, Arkansas 71943.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to family, friends and community for all the support during George’s illness. A special thank you goes out to Suzan Cooley, Sonia Francis and Frank Baker for their loving caregiving over these past months.
Guest registry is at www.davis-smith.com.