Joseph Neil Baker

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.

3 Condolences

  1. G. Faye Watson on December 9, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    To All the Family of Joe and Janiece: It was such an honor to spend so many happy times with them! We had a lot of remembrances and past fun being partners in the International City/County Managers Assn. and spent much time discussing our fun years and the empty space without Buford’s hilarious comments! And as my recent time of friendship with your Dad, I became more aware of his devotion & delight in his family relationships. He will be missed! Faye Watson

  2. Marilyn and Ben Tilghman on December 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Joe and Janiece were good neighbors in Brandon Woods and we miss them.

  3. Ray Meador on December 15, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Greetings to Joe’s family,

    The Meador family will forever indebted to Joe for the opportunity he gave us to join him as an intern at the City of Burbank. This was a big change for Martha and myself who grew up in Little Rock, AR and had little exposure past its boundaries. But Joe gave more than opportunity, he opened our eyes to new vistas and our minds to an expanded world.

    We often tell our three children that the real Santa Claus for our family is Joe Baker. Each time we imagine what our lives would have been without his invitation, we become more thankful.

    A few days ago I spoke with Joe on the day KU played Stanford in basketball. I had called him to ask him not to have KU beat up on Stanford. His voice was strong, he recognized me immediately, and as always there was a chuckle in the tone of his voice. He then told me of his decision to admit himself to Hospice and I was floored.

    Martha and I stopped by to see Joe and Janiece during March Madness and we met three of their sons. At lunch Joe said that the boys joined them each year for viewing of March Madness and we thought that was a great tradition.

    I will miss Joe greatly. I have no problem stating openly that he changed my life and Martha’s life to an extent we cannot describe. I am confident that this same statement can be made by many others with whom they were in contact with over their journey together.

    Ray and Martha Meador

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