Half Staff – J. Wain Baker

January 27, 2012
J. Wain Baker, DMD, 92, husband of the late Phyllis (Hinman) Baker of Rockport, died Friday, Jan. 27, at the Den Mar Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Rockport.Dr. Baker, dentist in Rockport for more than 34 years, was born in his home in Pigeon Cove, Rockport to the late Dr. Harold and Edith (Wain) Baker. He graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy and attended Lafayette College before entering the Naval Reserve in 1941. He participated in the accelerated V7 program on the USS Wyoming and USS Prairie State. Wain was made an Ensign after 90 days of training.

He served as assistant navigator and deck officer on the USS San Juan and later the USS Pittsburgh and participated in several Pacific naval battles during World War II. After the war, he attended Tufts Dental School and began his practice in Rockport in 1949. Dr. Baker met his future wife during the Thanksgiving break of 1940, when his sister Cynthia brought her roommate, Phyllis, home from college. He and Phyllis married in June 1944 between naval deployments.

He was a lifelong sailor and former Commodore of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club, where he raced O Boats, Sandy Bays and Star class sailboats with friends and family. For several years, he helped run the annual Gloucester Schooner races. Wain and others in the town were instrumental in starting the Rockport Sea Scouts. He taught celestial navigation to the scouts and he was proud that a number of the scouts went on to successful careers in the Merchant Marine and US Coast Guard.

As an avid skier, he was a member of the Cape Ann Ski Gulls ski club and later the 70+ and 80+ ski club. Along with his sailing and skiing, Wain was active in the community. He was a founding member and former president of the Rockport Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. After retiring, Phyllis and he delivered Meals on Wheels to numerous Rockport residents. He also served as president of the Rockport Historical Society and was a member of the Rockport Golf Club, Thacher Island Association, and the Rockport Art Association.

Dr. Baker is survived by his son, Steven Baker and his wife Ruthann of North Kingstown, RI; and a daughter, Betsy and her husband Edmond Salas of Rockport; grandchildren, Nicholas Baker and his wife Shannon, Chelsea and her husband Tom Soule, and Shelby Salas; step-grandchildren, Jason, Richard, Nathan and Erin Salas; special grandchildren, Jesse and Lyle Fielding; and great granddaughter, Isabel Soule. He also leaves a sister-in-law, Evelyn Baker of Marblehead, brother-in-law Dr. James Metcalfe of Portland, OR, cousin, Jeannette Goodrum of Grass Valley, CA and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his wife, his son Timothy Baker, his sister Cynthia Metcalfe, and brother Dr. Robert Baker.

ARRANGEMENTS: A Memorial Service will be held in the First Congregational Church, Rockport, on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 10 a.m. Family and friends are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Sandy Bay Yacht Sailing Program, P.O. Box 37, Rockport, MA 01966 or Rockport Rotary Club, P.O. 54, Rockport, MA 01966. Funeral arrangements are being conducted by the Burgess & Mackey Funeral Home, 201 Main St., Rockport. Online condolences may be given at www.greelyfuneralhome.com.