Valdosta Daily Times


March 24, 2014

Mary Newton Baker

-- — Mrs. Mary Newton Baker, age 91 of McDonough, Ga., and Blairsville, Ga., passed away on March 22, 2014. She is the daughter of the late James Gordon and Thelma Hyde Newton of Lake City, Fla.

Mrs. Baker was preceded in death by her infant son, Howard Franklin Baker, Jr. and her husband, Dr. Howard F. (Bill) Baker, retired Henry County Schools Superintendent.

 Mary was born in Poplarville, Miss., and moved to Homerville, Ga., at the age of seven. She is a graduate of Homerville High School where she was a star player for the Homerville Lady Panthers. Mrs. Baker is a graduate of Georgia State Woman’s College (GSWC) now Valdosta State University(VSU). While at GSWC, Mary was selected as the first Miss Spirit of Turpentine by the American Turpentine Framers Association (ATFA). Mrs. Baker began her teaching career in Homerville teaching 62 second graders in one class with no assistance. After World War II, Bill and Mary moved to Atlanta for Bill to attend Emory University. After his graduation, Bill and Mary moved to Locust Grove when Bill became the teaching principal at Locust Grove School and Mary began teaching at McDonough High School. Mary continued her teaching at Stockbridge Elementary School and concluded her 32 year teaching career at Stockbridge Junior High School in June 1980. In 1976, Mary was named Henry County Teacher of the Year. She was an active member of the Clayton/Henry/Fayette Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. Mary served as President of the Henry County Retired Educators Association during 1982-83 and continued to be an active member receiving her Emeritus Certificate at age 90 in 2013. In retirement the Bakers moved for 10 years to Tybee Island, Ga., where Mary was active in Trinity United Methodist Church and numerous civic and service organizations. The Bakers returned to McDonough in June 2000.  

Mary Newton Baker is survived by her son, Dr. Gordon Newton Baker, Dean of Libraries at Clayton State University. Other survivors include: sister Jane Newton (Theron) Smith, Gainesville, Fla.; nieces and nephews, Cindy and Bill Franklin, Jacksonville, Fla.; Dr. John and Rosemary Spiegel, Macon; Caroline and Dan Asikainen, Reno, Nev.; Michael and Teresa Baker, Columbus; and Howard and Nancy Smith, Johns Creek, five great nieces and nephews and Tom Lewis and Cooper Lewis.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Henry County Humane Society, the Henry County Public Library, or the Building Fund of the McDonough 1st United Methodist Church.

The family would like to express thanks to the staffs of Dogwood Forest at Eagle’s Landing, Henry Medical Center, and Southern Crescent Specialty Hospital for all their care and kindness to Mrs. Baker in her time of need.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at Cannon Cleveland Directors with the Rev. Darris Baker officiating. Interment will follow in Eastlawn Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends today, March 25, 2014 from 6- 8 p.m. at the Funeral Home. Those who wish may sign the on-line guest registry at — Cannon Cleveland Funeral Directors, McDonough, Ga.,  (770) 914-1414.

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