Walter Victor Baker was born on December 19, 1918, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to Robert Baker and Mollie Feingold Baker. He died January 18, 2009, in Waterford, Connecticut. After attending Classical High School in Providence, he went on to receive his B.A. from Brown University, class of 1939, primum cum laude, and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was also a Francis Wayland Scholar.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, attaining the rank of Master Sergeant. He married Irma Zabarsky in 1946, and they had 49 years of joyful marriage. He was President of New London and Mohegan Dairies and after a merger, became Chairman of Brock-Hall Dairy. Subsequently he was active in his moving business, North American Van Lines, and still later in 1975, joined Irma to open Seaport Fabrics.
He was a director and trustee of The Day Publishing Company, and trustee and treasurer of The Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut, as well as a member of the advisory board and executive committee of the Hartford National Bank and its successor banks. He also was a committee member on the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund and the Bodenwein Public Benevolent Foundation. From 1956-1958, he served as president of Congregation Beth El. He also served as president of the Greater New London Chamber of Commerce, The Connecticut Milk Regulation Board, The Harbor School PTA, and The Community Chest (now United Way). His activities also included being director and treasurer of The Quality Chekd Dairy Products Association and director of Fortune Plastics. His extensive volunteer service of more than 30 years to the Lawrence and Memorial Hospital included election as a corporator, a trustee, a member of the board of managers, treasurer, and vice chairman. These efforts culminated in the hospital's naming the auditorium in his honor.
He is survived by a daughter, Nancy Baker Delston, and her husband, Ross S. Delston, of Washington, D.C., and a son, Richard C. Baker, and his wife, Bertha Melgoza, of La Jolla, California. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Rachel Baker Delston and her husband Matthew Byron, Jill Baker Delston and her husband Jeffrey Armel, all of St. Louis, Missouri, and Samuel Robert Baker of Brookline, Massachusetts. He was predeceased by a son, Kenneth A. Baker
Funeral service will be held on Wednesday January 21, 2009 11 O'clock at Congregation Beth-El, 660 Ocean Avenue New London. Interment will follow in Beth-El Cemetery, Groton. Donations in Walter's memory may be made to The Community Foundation of Southeastern CT. 147 State Street PO Box 769 New London, CT. 06320 or Lawrence Memorial Hospital 365 Montauk Ave.New London, CT. 06320 or Congregation Beth-El 660 Ocean Avenue New London., CT. 06320. For directions obituary information or to sign the family's online register please visit www.neilanfuneralhome.com