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Obit – Jerry Wade Baker

Jerry Wade Baker passed away peacefully at home on his farm on December 13, 2022, in the New Middleton community of Smith County. During the 84 years of life with which God richly blessed him, he led his family as a devoted husband, father and grandfather, he served the Lord as a teacher and a deacon, and he cared for his neighbors with his gentle spirit and gracious heart. His impact on others will be greatly missed, because his impact on others was greatly felt.

Jerry was welcomed into the world on March 12, 1938, by his father, William Campbell Baker, and his mother, Susie Davenport Baker, who passed away three months after his birth. His father would later remarry, Mary Frances Baker, and together they would raise Jerry, his brothers and sister on the family farm. 

Jerry walked to the nearby one-room schoolhouse as a child, then later attended New Middleton School before graduating from Gordonsville High School in 1956. While in high school he was active in both 4-H and the Future Farmers of America. Before beginning his lifelong farming career, Jerry answered the call to serve his country by enlisting in the United States Army, serving from 1957-1959, and was primarily stationed in Iceland.

Following his military service, Jerry returned to the farm. Then in 1966, his brother, James, joined him, and the two began a partnership which would span the next twenty-one years. The partnership involved operating a dairy, raising beef cattle, and growing tobacco. Jerry would later be joined on the farm by his son, Danny, and today the farming tradition continues with Danny and his son, Campbell.

Jerry married Lucy Wilkerson, also of the New Middleton community, on January 31, 1964, and the two moved into the farmhouse which would become their home for the next fifty-eight years. They were blessed with four children, Lucinda, Danny, Phillip and Glenda. As their family grew, Jerry would build onto the farmhouse and would use the skills and know-how of a farmer to complete each addition or renovation himself. Perched overlooking the farm, their home would become known for its warmth and hospitality, and the place where neighbors and friends would stop and visit and sit to talk with Jerry in his front yard swing. 

Jerry was a lifelong member of New Middleton Baptist Church and served the Lord faithfully there in many roles throughout his life. He was ordained to serve as a deacon in 1965. Like his father, he taught the senior adult Sunday School class for many years, he loved gospel music and was a member of the church choir. Jerry often sang solos during worship, and enjoyed sharing his favorite songs which included, “The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows” and “Sweet Beulah Land.”

In addition to Lucy, his wife of fifty-eight years, he is survived by his four children, Lucinda Baker Phillips and husband, Mike, of Dixon Springs, Daniel Wade Baker and his wife, Aundrenia, of New Middleton, Phillip Norris Baker and his wife, Kimberly, of Cookeville, and Glenda Sue Baker of New Middleton, and sister, Dorothy Baker Ashe of Lebanon. He was proceeded in death by his two brothers, Robert Campbell Baker of Manchester and James Carol Baker of New Middleton.

Jerry was affectionately known as PaPa to eleven grandchildren, Diana Phillips Hoot and husband, Ben, of Dixon Springs, Julie Phillips Johnston and husband, Joshua, of Gallatin, Olivia Rae Phillips of Dixon Springs, William Reece Enoch and wife, Kendra, of South Carthage, Campbell Hale Baker and Emma Catherine Baker of New Middleton, Mitchell Wade Baker, Nicholas Wayne Baker, Abigail Grace Baker, Morgan Nicole Dearnbarger and Sarah Danielle Dearnbarger, all from Cookeville. 

Pallbearers were Jerry’s grandsons. Honorary pallbearers were the deacons of New Middleton Baptist Church and longtime friends, Paul Carson, Billy House, Larry Wilkerson, and devoted neighbor Jerry Cooper. 

A celebration of life service was held on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at 11am at New Middleton Baptist Church with Bro. B.J. Thomason and Bro. Mark Stinnett officiating. Interment followed in the Gordonsville Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to New Middleton Baptist Church.


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