George Farris Baker, Jr., was born June 29, 1934, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to George Farris, Sr., and Jeannette Lucille (Martyn) Baker. He died Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at Oologah, Oklahoma, at the age of 81 years. George was reared and educated in Talala, Oklahoma, and graduated with the Talala High School Class of 1952. During his school years he was very active in the local 4-H showing cattle. He was a talented athlete and attended Oklahoma State University, formerly Oklahoma A & M, where he lettered in basketball playing for the legendary coach Henry P. Iba. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in animal husbandry. He also was a talented singer and played the role of Jud in the university production of “Oklahoma.” He also became a leader in the ROTC program, graduating at the rank of Cadet Colonel. He married his high school sweetheart, Vera Joy Hayes on July 26, 1953, in Winganon, Oklahoma, and they made their home in Talala where he had lived since 1943. He was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force and was selected for a prestigious pilot program where he became a fighter pilot and later flew the first JET mission in the Vietnam War. He and his family were sent overseas where he flew in Europe and Africa before returning to the U.S. to attend graduate and law school at the University of Tulsa. He was a longtime faithful member of Talala Christian Church where he took part in bible study and sang in the choir. George was also a beloved educator and spent 22 years teaching at both Owasso and Nowata public high schools. He enjoyed a variety of pastimes such as reading, playing Scrabble, watching Jeopardy with his wife Vera, and fishing. He was an avid fisherman his entire life and rarely passed up an opportunity to get out on the lake. He loved to share his passion and fishing expertise with anyone and everyone. He was also diligent in keeping in touch with his fighter pilot buddies and attended their reunions. Music was another enjoyment, particularly classical music; and he always seemed to be whistling or singing a tune.
Loving family members include:
His wife of over 62 years; Vera of the home
Four sons and daughters-in-law;
George and Joanna Baker, of Tulsa
James and Vera Baker, of Carlsbad, California
Joel and Stephanie Baker, of Talala
Jerry and Susan Baker, of Punta Gorda, Florida
Six Great grandchildren
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Shirley Hand.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 14, 2016, at First Church in Owasso with Pastor Tom Jones officiating. Private family disposition will be held at a later date. The family requests memorial contributions be made to the George Baker Memorial Fund, c/o RCB Bank, 12200 East 96th Street North, Owasso, OK 74055. Arrangements and services were entrusted to Mowery Funeral Service of Owasso.
Mr. Baker one of the best teachers Owasso ever had. Owasso has had a lot of great teachers and administrators. I will never forget him and his “yard stick”, his cup of coffee, always referring to his students with a Mr. or Miss and when he pointed he always used two fingers (his index and pinky). We didn’t even know he was a pilot in the Air Force. I didn’t like science but I learned more than Biology from Mr. Baker. I hope the family knows how many young people were influenced by him. I became a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, and Mr. Baker was one of my teachers I tried to emulate. I even copied his method of reading the lunch menu by mispronouncing the words to get the students to lighten up. May God bring peace to the family by celebrating the great life and all the lives that Mr. Baker touched. His life will continue to touch others for a long long time.
— Rick Antle, Thursday – May 12, 2016
I cannot begin to tell you all the fun stories I have shared over the years with my students about the best teacher I ever had… Mr. Baker. The George Baker version of genetics (“If Aa marries Bb, what will little Finsterwald be?”) and reproduction (“bleep-ual” and “a-bleep-ual” reproduction) are classics. The endless victims of his Coke wagers, the voice of God saying “Let there be light” to the person closest to the light switch when the filmstrip was finished, and oh, so many name games. My personal favorite was the class roll, when he called out, “Miss LisenWASP” instead of Lisenbee, and then excusing his mistake by telling me it was the same phylum. Thank you so much for all those memories, Mr. Baker! You were the best!
— Janettia Alexander (Lisenbee), Thursday – May 12, 2016
Less than a week before his passing, a fellow graduate had asked in a Facebook group that we post who our favorite teacher was from OHS. My post was “Mr. Baker for Biology.” I learned more in his class than in any other and with the knowledge gained there I was able to earn eight hours of college credit in Biology via the CLEP test. But I learned more than Biology from Mr. Baker. I learned how humor is motivational, how evolution is not diametrically opposed to the teachings in the Bible and, maybe most important, how NOT to wager a Coke unless my facts are completely checked! My dad and I would fly our Cessna to Whitehorn Cove for a burger and meet Mr. Baker there in his plane. I thought it was so cool to get to see him enjoying another one of his passions. From the stories I have seen of his fishing, it appears that he was passionate about everything in his life all the way to the end of his life on earth. I pray for comfort for his family, knowing he is enjoying his reward in
— Vana (Hert) Taylor, Friday – May 13, 2016
Your dear George gave me my first plane ride. I think he had as much fun as I did. You were both so kind to me. Thank you. My thoughts are with you. I’m so sorry. Gretchen
— Gretchen Collins, Friday – May 13, 2016
Prayers for all the family and loved ones that Mr. Baker has touched throughout the years. I will always have a special place in my heart for him. In school he taught us a lot and more than just the subject we were learning. I have so many memories of his funny stories he shared. He had nicknames for everyone and he always called me “Pretty Eyes” and still remembered me all these years later as such. I’m glad I was able to get reacquainted with Mr. Baker again. He truly is a special man. Rest In Peace kind soul.
— Traci McAnally-Millea, Saturday – May 14, 2016
Mr. Baker was one of my favorite teachers. He was funny, made learning fun and not only taught biology, but taught us lessons on being good citizens and human beings. I appreciate his service in Viet Nam. My prayers go out to his family.
— r Jarman, Saturday – May 14, 2016
I have had only two men in my life I have admired and inspired me. One was my dad, the other is Mr. Baker. I had him for biology, Human Physiology in high school at Owasso. He taught us to think outside the box, Socratic method of teaching, and critical thinking. He instilled in me the love for knowledge and education. He often wore overalls to class. He used to catch flies with his hand, and if a student said, “It wasn’t fair.” His response was either he didn’t anything in the forecast about it being fair today, or, the fair only comes to town once a year, and it’s not here. In my opinion, best educator Owasso had and my life was blessed to have known him.
— Patricia Roden-Hartmuller , Saturday – May 14, 2016
10100 North Garnett Road
Owasso, OK 74055
Saturday – May 14, 2016
Memorial donations may be made in memory of George, C/o RCB Bank to the:
George Baker Memorial Fund
12200 East 96th Street North