Blake Baker joins family business

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Robert Newton Baker IV, known as &uot;Blake&uot; to his family and friends, is the fifth generation of Bakers to serve as a mortician to the people of Suffolk. Although it wasn’t his first choice as a career, he is quick to note that no pressure was applied by any member of his family to return from Virginia Beach to continue the family tradition.

&uot;I just saw that things were not going the way I would have like them in Virginia Beach and I knew it was time to come home,&uot; said Baker. &uot;My mother and dad both live in Suffolk and I missed being around them and our family and I just felt strongly that it was the right thing to do…to come back home.&uot;

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Things may not have suited Baker at the beach; however, he did have a career. He was involved in environmental science, having earned a four-year degree from Ferrum College.

It seems almost inevitable that Baker returned to the family business. He grew up in the Robert W. Baker and Company estate that is also the site of the business, and while he was at Ferrum and Virginia Beach, he missed the feel of his father’s hand laid affectionately across his shoulder. After all, Robert W. Baker, his dad, had been his coach in SYAA and his Scout Master in Troop 1 Boy Scouts. He also missed his mom and, of course, every young man misses mom’s cooking.

&uot;I traveled all over with the environmental firm, and one weekend I was talking with dad and I just asked if he would like me to come home and work with him,&uot; said Baker. &uot;I didn’t like being away so I returned and went to school to become a licensed funeral director.&uot;

Now that Baker has settled down to a life in Suffolk, he’s again planning another major change in life.

Suffolk’s fair maidens will lose one of the city’s most eligible bachelors when he marries the love of his life, Kelly Ayres of Virginia Beach. She is an emergency communications operator for Virginia Beach, and she’s a volunteer with the fire department. She does plan to move to Suffolk where the couple will move into a home they are refurbishing, the Smith Home.

&uot;We have stripped it from the wall studs out,&uot; said Baker. &uot;We are completely remodeling it and it’s going to be a beautiful place to live.&uot;

Name? Robert Newton Baker IV. I’m named after a great grandfather and my nickname, &uot;Blake,&uot; is an old family name.

Hometown? Suffolk

Family? My dad, Robert W. Baker and his wife, Marie, and my mother, Linda Drummond.

Education? I’m a 1993 graduate of Lakeland High School, and I have a four-year degree in environmental science from Ferrum College and two years from John Tyler in Chester, Va. in funeral services.

Career/Occupation? I am a funeral director and embalmer with R.W. Baker and Company Funeral Home and Crematory.

Volunteer activities? I’m currently working with United Way

Favorite thing about life in Suffolk? Living close to work and the fact that Suffolk is growing and progressing and it still maintains the small community atmosphere about it.

Favorite thing about your job? I enjoy helping the families and working with my family.

Least favorite thing about your job? The hours involved. Funeral homes take few holidays. Where we are needed, we are there for the families to help in any way we can.

What accomplishments are you most proud of? Life and living it! I’m still working on that!

Who or what motivates and inspires you? The memory of my sister, Lynell Baker, who died tragically in an accident. She was a beautiful and loving young woman with so much to give. I will always remember that and try my best to do my part.

Favorite way to spend free time? Traveling to wherever… the destination doesn’t matter.

What words of wisdom would you share with others? Remember the past, but do not live in the past. Live life in the present and look forward to the future!

What ingredients are the recipe for a good life? Do not lose perspective on life.

How would you spend 15 minutes in the spotlight? I do not want the spotlight or wish for it. It reminds me too much of an obit (obituary) and I’m not ready for that!