Ruth Hays Baker passed away peacefully at her Grand Island home on Aug. 3, 2011.
She was born in Niagara Falls to Charles Otis Hays and Grace Drury Hays, and attended Niagara Falls High School. She later graduated from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., (class of 1939), and attended graduate school at the University of Toronto.
She married Lyman Merritt Baker in Niagara Falls on Aug. 5, 1950. They were married for 60 years before his passing on Sept. 19, 2010.
Baker was devoted to social work and public education throughout her life. She was a member of the Grand Island School Board from 1960 to 1972 and served two terms as board president. Afterward, she remained active in the Grand Island School District, and chaired its annual budget and school board elections for many years.
Baker also served as executive director of the Niagara Falls YWCA from 1970 to 1983, and initiated day care and women's health programs there.
She is survived by four sons: Merritt Baker (Mary), of Gaithersburg, Md., Charles Baker (Meshkat) of Grand Island, Malcolm Baker of Albany, and Paul Baker (Sherry) of Jonesboro, Ind. She had seven grandchildren.
She is also survived by a sister, Polly Nieburg, of Arlington, Va., and was preceded in death by a brother, Frank Hays.