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Rev Clarence Garfield Baker
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Birth: Jul. 28, 1881
Mahoning County
Ohio, USA
Death: Mar. 6, 1974
Marion County
Indiana, USA

Clarence Garfield Baker was the second son of Alcinous and Emily (Calvin) Baker.

Nov 4 1910: he married (1) Olive (Mills) Billman, born Aug 25, 1879, at Campbellstown, Ohio, with one daughter by first husband, Joseph Lee Billman, born Apr 1, 1877, in Eldorado, Ohio and died Jan 1905.

CHILDREN of Clarence and Olive (Mills)(Billman) Baker:
1. Hester (Billman) Baker b. Feb 20, 1905 at New Paris, O, adopted
2. Harold Calvin Baker b. Oct 18, 1911 at Plymouth, Indiana
3. Rosamond b. Apr 28, 1915 at Batavia, Illinois

Olive was a loyal, faithful wife during the many years of service which Clarence rendered to his church and community. She died Sep 24, 1968 in the Baptist Nursing Home in Zionsville, Indiana.

Clarence graduated from Hiram University in 1908, and while there commenced his distinguished career in the ministry and social service, preaching at Stow, Hubbard, and Mogadore, Ohio. Then from 1908-10 at New Paris, Ohio, and 1910-12 at Plymouth and Culver, Indiana, while studying in Chicago and one year at Douglas Park, Chicago and two years at Batavia, Illinois. He got his M.A. in Sociology and Economics from Chicago University in 1914. Then he served the West Park Christian Church in western Indianapolis from 1915-23. Close to it, he built and established a local community center-- Hawthorne House, of which he was superintendent for 25 years until 1948.

Quoting from the National Bulletin of the Association of Church Social Workers of October 1952:
"The Rev. Clarence G. Baker of Indianapolis is president of the Indiana Association of Church Social Workers. He helped to establish the association nationally eighteen years ago, and served as a member of the committee on standards in church social service."
"In Indianapolis, which has been his home of nearly forty years, Mr. Baker is a symbol of Christian commitment to social work and is recognized as an 'elder statesman' among settlement workers.-- Few of Mr. Baker's friends know that his first aspiration was for missionary service in China but the door was closed because of weak eyes."

So Clarence went to Plymouth to preach, and to take the graduate work at Chicago University. There he met Dr. Charles Henderson, professor of practical sociology, and chaplain of the university. Catching Dr. Henderson's outlook, Clarence sought "a church through which he could help to meet both the social and spiritual needs of working people."

He found West Park Christian Church serving a community of factory workers in the midst of the industrial west side of Indianapolis. The church grew during the eight years of his ministry, from 300 to 700 members. Clarence published, weekly, the "West Side Messenger." This gave him a vehicle for religious and community organization work. Circulation was from 3000-6000. Clarence left W. Park Church in 1923 and refused the powerful KKK of his area who offered him a gift check for $4000 for Hawthorne House, with one condition: that they be permitted to meet in it.

At one point, Clarence rallied the community to prevent a railroad from splitting the community area.

For twenty-five years (from 1923) Clarence and Hawthorne House were inseparable in the minds of Indianapolis people. The community house acquired an entire block with three buildings. Mr. Baker was instrumental in the building of George Washington High School for the area and in obtaining Hawthorne Park, a city playground and the Little Eagle Creek Park.

He pioneered in the Indianapolis Council of Social Agencies, in the local chapter of A.A.S.W. (National), and in the local federation of settlements. It was Mr. Baker who compiled the list of church related agencies in Indiana.

When his wife Olive's illness required nursing home care, Clarence entered the Lenoir Home at Columbia, Missouri. But he longed for Indianapolis, and so returned, working again in service to the Indianapolis Council of Churches. As vision deteriorated further, he entered the Emily Flynn Home in Marion, Indiana.

Then reassured that his vision had stabilized, Clarence remarried, a widow, Mary Ruth Beals, on Nov 30, 1969, at Metairie, New Orleans, Louisiana.
They had many interests and ideals in common, and hoped to do some traveling. Clarence had at one time conducted tours, and was familiar with the midwest and the great parks of our nation. But, alas, the traveling soon proved impossible due to his increasing frailty.

In spite of constant care his physical condition steadily deteriorated through 1971 and 1972. In a nursing home in Indianapolis, Clarence died Mar 6, 1974.

In keeping with his spirit of service to his fellow men, Clarence bequeathed his body to the local medical center, the remains to be later cremated, and buried in 1976, in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis-- the first and only family member known to do this.

From Mary Ruth Baker after C.G.B.'s death: "I had a note from the Hawthorne House Director the other day and he said 'Rev. Baker's most remembered quote, "Serving as the fence at the top of the precipice and not the ambulance at the foot of the hill" exemplifies the community action we on the Westside can best carry forth as an inheritance from this selfless individual.'"

ref: extracts from a manuscript by Donald H. Baker. 
Family links: 
  Alcinous Baker (1847 - 1934)
  Emily Calvin Baker (1857 - 1953)
  Willard Alcinous Baker (1879 - 1957)*
  Clarence Garfield Baker (1881 - 1974)
  Lura Irene Baker Snyder (1886 - 1979)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: burial this cemetery: Apr 17,1975
Crown Hill Cemetery
Marion County
Indiana, USA
Plot: Sec: 223, Lot: 463
Created by: Roger Milford
Record added: Feb 05, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24424641
Rev Clarence Garfield Baker
Added by: Roger Milford
Rev Clarence Garfield Baker
Added by: Trish Bliss
Rev Clarence Garfield Baker
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Seth Musselman
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Vera
 Added: Nov. 18, 2012

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