Junius “Joe” Ora Baker Jr. died peacefully surrounded by his family after a six-month battle with glioblastoma on February 28, 2021. Joe was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 2, 1939.
He was predeceased by his parents, Junius Ora Baker and Mary Elizabeth Senter and his only sibling, Elizabeth “Betsy Anne” Baker Messer.
Joe was married for 61 years to the one and only love of his life, Lynette Gregory Baker. Joe and Lynette have two children, Gregory M. Baker married to Lisa A. Baker and David R. Baker married to Linda D. Baker. He loved and was incredibly proud of his four grandchildren, Michael Baker, Matthew Baker, Carly Baker and Tyler Baker.
Joe grew up in the South and met his soulmate, Lynette at church while he was still in college. After dating just a few months, Joe and Lynette got married on New Year’s Eve in 1959. Being poor, they drove out of town and stayed one night at the first motel they came to for their honeymoon. They couldn’t go far. Joe had classes the following Monday morning. Joe loved the outdoors and studied forestry at North Carolina State University and joined the Army ROTC. After two-years of active duty with the Army, Joe started his career with the United States Forest Service.
During his tenure with the Forest Service, Joe and Lynette got the opportunity to live in North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. Joe loved to travel and was very proud to have visited all 50 states. The government sent him as a United States representative during his career to Ghana and Australia. His final post brought him to Washington, DC where he ultimately ran the “Smokey the Bear” campaign before he retired and settled permanently in Virginia.
After retirement from the Forest Service, Joe spent several years working as a safety director for a rock quarry before becoming a real estate agent. He really enjoyed helping young couples find and invest in their first home.
Joe never lost his love of the outdoors. Joe loved boating, waterskiing and fishing and instilled these passions in his two children and four grandchildren. The family ultimately discovered Lake Anna and together purchased a family vacation home in the early 1990s. There were many memorable weekends spent together. Joe and Lynette moved permanently to the lake in 2010.
Joe loved his dogs! While Lynette grew up on a farm and believed that animals belong outdoors, she knew that dogs made Joe very happy. Whether it was Butch, Lassie, Fred, Amber, Sasha, Honey or Angel, you would always catch Joe taking a nap on the front porch swing watching Lynette working in the yard with one of his beloved pets sleeping on his lap.
Joe had a wonderful sense of humor and would do absolutely anything to help his family or friends. He loved to get a rise out of any new acquaintances and loved poking fun at anyone that he knew. He will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Louisa County Resource Council at louisaresource.org or PO Box 52, Louisa, Virginia 23093.