|Birth: ||Jan. 14, 1937|
|Death: ||Mar. 27, 2007|
News-Courier - Thursday, March 29, 2007
Gracie Mae Baker, 70, passed away on Tuesday, March 27, 2007, at her home.
Funeral services for Mrs. Baker will be today at New Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church at noon with Pastor Larry Lockett Sr. officiating. Burial will be in the Royal Cemetery in Madison.
The body will be in the church from 11 a.m. until noon.
Survivors include her husband, O.C. Baker Jr.; three sons, Marvin (Diartal) Baker, Gary (Tina) Baker, Thomas (Peggy) Malone; six daughters, Rose Matthew, Linda (John) Farrar, Myrtle Baker, Elettie (Jerry) Farrar, Equinta (John) Crutcher and Nikkie Baker; 21 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Huntsville Times - Friday, April 6, 2007
Life Stories - Gracie Mae Baker
Sharecropper's daughter 'depended on God' for strength
Gracie Mae Baker always spoke to people, even strangers in the store.
"I would tell her, 'Not everybody is friendly like you,' " said Equinta Crutcher, her daughter. "She would say, 'It never costs you anything to say hi.' "
Nobody could have blamed Baker, who died March 27 at age 70, had she not been so sweet and positive.
She had grown up poor, the daughter of a Limestone County sharecropper. She picked and chopped cotton and worked as a maid to help support her family. She attended segregated schools and had to go to the back door of the homes she worked in.
Baker had her first baby at 17 and the last of 12 children at 42. Two of her children died when they were infants. Another daughter, Mary Jean, died a few years ago.
At 62, Baker was diagnosed with colon cancer.
But she never expected life to be easy, and she was never bitter.
"You depended on God to help you get through it," said Crutcher, one of Baker's six surviving daughters.
Her faith and New Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, known to the locals as Dogwood Flats church, were always at the center of Baker's life growing up in Tanner.
"It was a poor community," Crutcher said. "They lived out of the garden. Everybody picked cotton out of the fields, and they would meet at church on Sundays."
She continued to go Dogwood Flats after she moved to Old Railroad Bed Road on the Madison and Limestone county line. But she sent her children to nearby Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church so they could go to Sunday school, Crutcher said.
Baker never learned to drive - having so many children had made her too nervous, she would say - so her husband, O.C., or one of her children would drive her to Tanner each Sunday.
After church, everybody always ended up back at the Bakers' home for their mom's good food. Pinto beans, cabbage, turnip greens and cornbread were some of her specialties. Each fall, she would host a big back-to-school barbecue for her 21 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, whom she would entertain with her sense of humor and old-fashioned sayings and songs.
"She would have them falling out laughing," Crutcher said.
Her children were so devoted to their mother that all but one of her nine surviving children still live within 10 miles of their parents' home. When one sister married and moved to Clements in west Limestone County, "we were all so upset she moved out of town," Crutcher said.
When their mother got a diagnosis of cancer, she decided not to worry about it, Crutcher said. She would get chemotherapy treatments and then go to Disney World with her family. She also continued to take care of her beloved flowers, pulling a heavy hose around to water them.
"She had an amazing green thumb," Crutcher said.
Even when she was really ill the past several months, Baker never complained. When her children would try to give their mom her pain medication, she would take only two of the four tablets the doctor recommended. The pills made her go to sleep, and she wanted to be awake to greet visitors.
On March 1, her mom said she was ready to die. All the children and grandchildren got upset, and she hung on.
"She did it for us," Crutcher said. "That kept her going for a long time because we couldn't let go. The 26 days she stayed here were to give us time to accept she had to go."
Mary Jean Baker (1958 - 2004)*
Madison Memory Gardens
Created by: Susan Bennett
Record added: Feb 16, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105307821