Obituary: Jerry Lee Baker

“All things considered it’s been a good voyage,” he said.

Jerry Baker passed away on Feb. 12, 2021, when his mind and body were too tired to carry on. He leaves behind the legacy of a unique and talented man who wrote his own rules.

Jerry Lee Baker was born on April 2, 1941, in Racine, Mo., as the youngest child of John Wood and Lillian (Jennings) Baker.

He moved to New Hampshire shortly thereafter and made the suitably named “Live Free or Die” state his home.

Jerry was involved in law enforcement in Jaffrey, Keene and Shelburne for nearly half of his life. He did not like authority, yet enforced the law.

Mr. Baker taught industrial arts and driver education at Gorham High School for 32 years, where his influence and impact reached thousands of students.

He taught many of them their left from their right. Jerry worked at Berlin City Auto and Auto North after retirement where he said, “Most days my mind is clear and my hands are dirty.”

Jerry loved his coffee with two creams and three sugars, which he would stir so loudly that nobody in the house was left sleeping. He liked a hearty breakfast and made the best gravy toast, with bacon grease, not sausage.

In the left pocket of his polo shirt he kept his glasses, two ball-point pens and a sharp pencil. He didn’t like to lend out pens because they rarely got returned. In his work pants pocket he kept his Smith and Wesson 38 Special. Jerry picked up every hitchhiker on the way to town and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He enjoyed his rum and Pepsi in a clear plastic cup.

Tinkering and whistling were two of Jerry's favorite pastimes. You could hear his whistling from the ground as he flew his Aeronca Champ over town. Jerry also enjoyed going for a drive in his Model T. He could make anything out of wood and fix everything!

Jerry did not care for religion, staff development meetings, computers or people who pass on the right (N.H. RSA 265:19). He liked reading, music, Robert Frost poetry, colorful humor, sarcasm and crossword puzzles. His mind was very sharp, until it wasn’t.

Jerry is survived by his wife Deb (Bennett) Baker and his children: Ted Baker and his wife, Dodie, and their children Felicia and Caleb; Doug Baker and his wife, Annie; Deb Philbrick and her daughter, Mary; Liz Kolb and her husband, Rich, and their sons Jackson and Jakob; Andrew Baker and his wife, Roz, and their daughter, Piper Lee; good friends Doug Fish, Dave Clarke, Tom Edgerton, and Richard Wood and his kind and caring nurse, Diane.

Family and friends are invited to honor Jerry with a cup of coffee. You do not have to make it with two creams and three sugars. He would want you to drink it to your liking as long as you stir it well! In lieu of flowers, please buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru at McDonalds.

A parting quote reflecting Jerry’s life … “Freedom lies in being bold.” — Robert Frost

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