Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home
James Oliver Baker, age 85, passed away Monday, May 15, 2017, at his home surrounded by his family.
James Oliver was born August 4, 1931, in Fort Scott, Kans., the son of Clyde and Ada Minnie Baker. He attended Eugene Ware and graduated from Fort Scott High School with the Class of 1949. While in High School, he was President of the Freshman Class and as a senior was President of the Student Council and at this time, he also worked at the Western Insurance Company. J. O. attended Fort Scott Junior College and as a freshman was Vice-President of the Student Council and his sophomore year was elected President of the Student Council.
He resigned his office in October of 1951 to enlist as a recruit in the infantry. He took his basic training at Fort Polk, La., then was deployed to Hokkaido, Japan, before going to Korea. He was a member of the 45th Infantry Division that fought on Old Baldy during the Korean War. In eighteen months, he earned his way from a recruit to a First Sergeant. At that time, he was the youngest First Sergeant in the 45thInfantry Division. In later years, he was chaplain of the Combat Infantryman Association.
Upon his return from service, he married Kara Jeneane Wood on February 14, 1953, at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott. They began their married life in Beulah and Pueblo, Colo., for 18 months. During that time, he graduated from Pueblo Junior College and worked at the Pueblo Star Journal. He completed an ICS course in advertising. They returned to Fort Scott in August of 1954, where he worked for the Fort Scott Tribune in the advertising department. J. O. returned to the Western Insurance Company as manager of their newly formed printing department, where he was employed for 39 years until he retired in 1986. He was an avid fisherman and hunter and also raised bird dogs and game birds for a few years.
Survivors include his wife, Kara Jeneane; two daughters, Linda Baker and Connie Malone and husband, Brent, and a son, Dr. Michael Pierce Baker and wife, Becky. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Adam Malone and wife, Megan, Aaron Malone and wife, Amber, Alyssa Glades and husband, Matt, Bethany Baker and Jordan Baker and five great-grandchildren, Londyn, Trey Oliver, Lucas and Dayton Malone and Bishop Glades. Another great-grandson is due to arrive in June. Also surviving is a brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Wood and wife, Julie of Moundville, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents Clyde and Minnie Baker and his brother, Walter Lee Baker.
Rev. Dallas Peterson will conduct graveside services at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 18, at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Scott. Military honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 Veterans of Foreign Wars. Friends and family will meet at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Farlington United Methodist Church where he was a member or to the 45th Infantry Division Museum and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook atcheneywitt.com.