Joseph Neil Baker was born on May 16, 1925, in Osawatomie, Kansas. He was the third child born to Harry and Doris (Williams) Baker. Joe’s mother died shortly after his birth necessitating that he be raised by his maternal grandparents, Pleasant Garrett (PG) and Annie Williams. His older brother and sister, David and Patricia, were raised separately by their father’s sister and husband, Anna Belle (Nannie) and Dave Ouellet. Joe moved from Osawatomie to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1937 to live with his father and stepmother, Virginia (Blauvelt) Baker. He graduated from Northeast High School in 1943, joined the Navy during World War II, and later attended Rockhurst College.
Joe married Jacqueline Elliott in 1947. They had one son, Joseph “Gary” Garrett. Jacqueline died within a few months of Gary’s birth. A few years later Joe met and married Janiece Boling on February 23, 1952. Five more children were born to this union – Barbara, Patrick, David, Teresa, and Paul. During the course of their marriage Joe and Janiece lived in many different locations due to Joe’s varied career as a policeman, chemist/investigator for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and later as a City Manager in Burbank and Orange, California. The majority of their life together was spent in California.
Joe was a lifelong learner. He was especially nostalgic about his days at the University of Kansas (K.U.) where he earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration. KU played a major role in the final decision to retire in Lawrence, Kansas.
While Joe was interested in many different disciplines, the love of his life was his wife of over 63 years. Janiece passed away after a brief illness on July 10, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. Joe followed her in death Sunday, December 4, 2016. He is survived by five of their children, Barbara Thompson (Ron), Patrick Baker (Kathy), David Baker (Rose), Teresa Boylan (Tom), and Paul Baker. Joe and Janiece were blessed with nine grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren at the time of Joseph’s death. He was also preceded in death by his son, Gary.
A Memorial Mass will be held for both Joe and Janiece at 10:00 a.m. Friday, December 16, 2016 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lawrence. Family inurnment will be held later that afternoon at Elmdale Cemetery in Osawatomie, KS.
Memorials may be made in their names to the American Heart Association and may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.