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Bakers celebrate 71st anniversary
A long, loving and strong relationship
Ethel and Henry Baker Sr. marked their 71st wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving. - photo by Photo provided.

If you ask them, they will tell you it has only been seventy one short years.

Yes, November 23 marked the 71stwedding anniversary of Ethel Virginia Almeda Ogden Baker and Henry Clay Baker Sr. When you look at this young looking couple, it is hard to imagine them being married for such an extended period of time.

Ethel Virginia Almeda Ogden was born on June 23, 1928 in Allenhurst, Georgia. Her husband, Henry Clay Baker Sr., was born on November 19, 1928 in Liberty County. He was born and reared in the old Cypress Splash community (which was once located on Fort Stewart, Georgia, prior to the government purchasing the land). 

As a young girl, Ethel Ogden Baker attended Baconton Elementary School and Liberty High School to the 11thgrade, while Henry Baker attended Hineshaw Elementary until the 9thgrade.

At a young age, Henry and Ethel decided to get married. They said their “I Do’s” just four days after his 18th birthday on November 23, 1946, and settled in Liberty County.   Today, they are still residents of Allenhurst.

She worked at the old Splendid Dry Cleaners in Hinesville while he drove trucks for Wayneline, Builders’ Transport, and Lucas Moving and Storage. During his employment with Builders’ Transport, Mr. Baker was the first driver to drive one million miles and he received an award for not having any chargeable accidents.

The Bakers are well known throughout Liberty County and surrounding counties as avid sports fans and supporters. For many years, they were fixtures at Liberty County football and basketball games (both at home and away). They are friends to many athletes and their families, coaches, principals, and teachers in the community.

Their children excelled in sports. Three of their sons (Henry Jr., Ronald, and Derrell) were outstanding baseball players in high school. Two of their sons (Henry Jr., and Derrell) played with minor league baseball teams.  Henry Jr., played with the Boston Red Sox for five years; and Derrell was drafted in the second round by the Montreal Expos. He played and coached in the Expos organization for eight years.

Barbara Baker Derrick (their oldest daughter) was a dynamic basketball player for Liberty County High School and will be inducted into the Liberty County Sports Hall of Fame this month. Faye Baker (their youngest daughter) was a star high school baseball player and is a Bradwell Institute girls’ basketball coach. She is also listed in the Liberty County Sports Hall of Fame.

Bro. and Sis. Baker are longtime members of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hinesville, Georgia, under the leadership of Pastor Richie Williams. Sis. Baker serves as church mother.  When asked her favorite song she said, “Jesus is All the World to Me.” 

Bro. Baker serves as a class leader, senior gospel choir and male choir member, steward pro-tem, and Sons of Allen member.  He is recognized in the community for his fiery and uplifting devotional services. “My favorite song is, O How I Love Jesus,” he said.

This remarkable couple has been married so long that they share the same favorite scripture.  It is an often quoted psalm of David (Psalm 27), which states: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Both of them say the Bold and the Beautiful is their favorite television show.  They love to watch it together and spend time with each other. “I spend my days relaxing and doing house work,” noted Mrs. Baker.  “I spend my days doing anything I like to do, or anything that is needed to be done,” Mr. Baker said.  “We enjoy family gatherings – spending time with children and grandchildren,” they noted.

Her favorite dish is lima beans and his favorites are Fraser peas and ice cream. Mrs. Baker’s hobbies are baking and exercising when she was still able to do so. His hobbies are gardening and fishing.  Mr. Baker is also known for his bountiful gardens and his love of sharing vegetables with family and friends.

The Bakers have some simple advice to share with young couples.  “Always put God first in your life and be true to one another,” she stated.  His advice to couples is to live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight.

As the years go by, their love for each other has deepened.  “The thing I love the most about him is the way he sings.  He gets up in the morning humming and singing.”  When asked what he loves the most about his wife, Mr. Baker emphatically said, “Everything.  I love the things she does for me.”

“I attribute my long life to keeping God first and prayer,” said Ethel Baker.  “I attribute my long life to God’s grace and mercy,” said Henry Baker.

The Bakers are the parents of seven children (Willie Watkins, Herbert Singleton, Barbara Baker Derrick, Henry C. Baker, Jr., Ronald Baker, Derrell Baker, and Faye Baker), 16 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren.

Henry and Ethel Baker are also recognized for being faithful attendees at the Baconton Missionary Baptist Church of Walthourville, Georgia, Annual Christmas Concert. This is one event they look forward to each year with anticipation. This year the event is scheduled for Sunday, December 3 at 5 pm, and the Bakers plan to be “in the house.”

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