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James L. Baker

James L. Baker

Jan 3, 1926 - Oct 27, 2023

James L. Baker - Obituary


ames L. Baker, known to all as “Jim”, was born on January 3, 1926, to George Harold Baker and Louise Lockhart Baker in Aberdeen MD. Jim had a rich childhood spending time in both Aberdeen, MD and in the family’s winter home in Rockledge, FL. He was president of his senior class at Aberdeen High School and was active in high school athletics and joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 17. He spent a year at Emory and Henry College as part of the Navy V-12 program and received his Commission in 1945. After a brief deployment at the end of WW II he attended the University of Maryland. During his time at the University, he was on the rifle team and set records that stood for decades. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Physics, where he met and married Dorothy Perkins Cole, “Dottie” in 1948, with whom he shared 73 years. During their years together, they traveled the world by air and cruise ship. They had two children, Dolly and Russell. Out of college, Jim worked at Harry Diamond Fuse Laboratories, and helped develop the Honest John Rocket System, which included several patentable fuse devices. In 1961, he began work at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, where he was the Systems Director for the world’s first Geo-Synchronous satellites known as SYNCOM. Following that, he was involved in NASA’s ATS synchronous satellite systems. As part of that job, he traveled to ground station locations around the world. Jim retired from NASA in 1976. After Jim had retired, he received a contract from NASA to develop a shipboard Satellite Location and communication device. Successful testing of the system occurred in both the Bahamas and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. This system was the predecessor to the technology that became GPS and EPIRB’s. He also continued working on a variety of real estate investment projects, both in Maryland, and in Florida, spending winters at their condo in Melbourne Beach. Jim’s love of boating included the Sherwood power boat races, where he earned the nickname of “Flip Baker” in addition to participating in the Sunday Sailboat races. He and Dottie spent months at a time on TANDEM cruising the east coast from Cape Cod to Key West with family and friends. Jim and Dottie also had multiple extended trips to the Bahamas on TANDEM over 30 years. In 1953, with help from family and friends, Jim built a summer cottage in Sherwood Forest, MD. This is where Jim and his family spent every summer, until rebuilding it into a year-round home in 1976. In Sherwood, he was active in community sports, along with volunteering to manage several major infrastructure projects and serving on the community Board of Directors. Jim is survived by his children, Dolly Baker, and Russell and Laura Baker; his grandchildren Dr. Brian and Heather Baker, Robin Baker, Nicholas and Keisha Baker, Brendan and Katie Baker, and Dr. Patrica and David Blalock; and his great grandchildren Molly, Brian, Megan, Jake, Natilie, and Ben Baker, Brody and Banx Baker, and Teagan, Remi, Jack, and Luke Baker. Jim had a life well Lived. After a brief illness, Jim passed peacefully and in comfort surrounded by his loving family when he left us on October 27, 2023, to join Dottie and the Angels. A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held at the Sherwood Forest Clubhouse, November 11, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Please leave a condolence for the family by signing the guestbook at the Memories tab located on the left side of this page.