William “Bill” Baker Jr., age 91, passed away at Mother Joseph Care Center in Olympia, Washington, on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. Bill was born December 4, 1927 in Yakima, Washington, to William Baker and Pearl (Ritter) Baker, who died shortly after Bill’s birth.
Bill grew up in Tacoma, Washington, where he attended school and had an after-school job at Safeway. At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in the Pacific, and then was transferred to the 526th Engineer Panel Bridge Battalion 516 tanker refiller on submarine watch. Upon his discharge, he married Doris Smith and they had three daughters, Martie, Shirley and Billie. They divorced in 1971. Bill married Esther Emmons in 1978 and they were married for 28 years.
Bill was a truck driver. He retired from Lee & Estees Trucking, driving over a million miles during his trucking career. He then went to work at Clinton’s Music Store in Olympia.
He loved playing his many organs, including his 1925 Robert Morgan Theatre pipe organ whenever he wasn’t with family, friends, or on one of many trips to Reno or on a cruise.
Bill was a Life Member of the VFW, and also belonged to the American Legion, Masons, Eagles for 45 years, AFIFI Shriners, NRA, Loyal Order of Moose, and the American Theatre Organ Society. He also was a ham radio operator.
He is survived by his daughters, Martie (Dave) Seaunier, Shirley (Smoke) Johnston, Billie (Gary) Imler; stepson, John (Joan) Emmons; six grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and a number of nieces and many friends. He was preceded in death by his mother and father; two sisters; wife, Esther; stepson, Jim; son-in-law, Bob Smith; and ex-wife, Doris (Baker) Hughes.