Elizabeth Baker of Dania Beach, Florida, died Aug. 2, 2014 at what she called "the wonderful age of 94."
She was born in Troy, N.Y., on Nov. 22, 1919, to Charles and Elizabeth Stalter. Her parents and her only sister, Ruth Frick, preceded her in death. Elizabeth Baker and her husband Edwin Baker moved to Grand Island in 1952 with two sons and later adopted two Korean orphans. Elizabeth lived there until 1977.
Her favorite roles in life were mother (four times), grandmother (10 times) and great-grandmother (18 times). Other roles were - talented dancer, retired nurse and actress.
Her love of family and of life were evident in her instructions to her loved ones as her life drew to a close: "After the funeral - everyone get together, have an Irish Wake and enjoy yourselves, as I was never happier than when all my children were together laughing, eating and having fun," she wrote.
So many who knew her thought she was "classy and special," said her son, Peter Van Dewater Baker. She came by her grace and elegance naturally, friends and family said, with her abundant talent as a dancer and an innate sense of style.
As a young adult, she was promised an audition with the City of Buffalo Ballet, but then she fell ill with myasthenia gravis. After eight years, she experienced what she and her family believed to be a miraculous healing. Her faith and indomitable spirit brought her through to a full, active and long life.
Lifelong interests included a devotion to the Bible and reading "Forward Day by Day." She was an avid bridge player and enjoyed writing, reading and audio books. She would dive into a crossword puzzle with the expertise of a technician and gifted wordsmith. She loved spell-checking her crosswords and had a flair for all aspects of language and the written word. Dancing, acting and kittens also brought joy to her life.
She had a warm and gentle way about her that lit up a room and brought her a host of lifelong and brand new friends.
Among her family and friends, she also was known for her keen wit and slyly competitive approach to a family game night. "I hated to play bridge or poker with her for money," her son, Peter, said. Her other son, Jan Charles Baker, hated to lose to Mom in arm wrestling.
She is survived by two sons, Peter Van Dewater Baker (wife Shirley), and Jan Charles Baker (wife Marita); and two daughters, Jennifer Ann Abercrombie and Mary Abigail Baker (husband, Kris Hackett).
Also, 10 grandchildren: Pieter Baker, Gillian Norman, Katherine Wendel, Jan Baker Jr., Joshua Baker, Mackenzie Baker, Seth Abercrombie, Owen Abercrombie, Nicholas Brewer and Elizabeth Brewer.
And 18 great-grandchildren: Pieter Baker Jr., William Wendel, Stella Wendel, Allegra Norman, Katherine Norman, Joseph Norman, Elizabeth Norman, John Paul Norman, Sydney Baker, Piper Baker, Brynn Baker, Delaney Baker, Avery Brewer, Daniel Abercrombie, Jonathan Abercrombie, Diana Abercrombie, Edward Abercrombie and Jason Abercrombie.
Also, she is survived by her nieces, Marcia McGlarry, Melissa Smith, Suellen Lash, Penelope Wurtz, Laurie and Nancy Jo; and nephews Robin Baker and Billy Baker.
Best friends Beth Bohnet and Diane Kerner, Karen, Sylvia McGinnis, John McGlarry, Ricardo, Rose Brewer, Robb Brewer, Buddy, Cindy, Doreen Bartley, Selita, Jannete, Patsy, Maria, Father Matt, Father Andreas, Dr. Rothstein and Jupiter.
Best friends departed are Edwin Baker, Joanne, Lorraine, Peg, Alice, Frances and so many more.
"Today thou shalt be in Paradise with me," were Jesus' words spoken to the sinner on the cross at Calvary. Elizabeth considered herself a fellow sinner and lived in that hope.
She was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Hollywood, Florida, and a member of the Order of St. Luke (a healing ministry).
Also, she was an active contributor to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, SPCA, the American Red Cross and to St. John's Episcopal Church.