Tom Baker Jr.
Thomas Francis Baker passed away on April 29, 2013 at the age of 65 with his wife of 29 years by his side in Alexandria, VA. He died of cardiac pulmonary arrest following a courageous and difficult 5.5 year battle with oral cancer. His battle with oral cancer showed his heroic nature, as he had to endure 3 rounds of oral cancer treatment and 4 years with a feeding tube. However, he always tried to help others through his experience. After his second round of oral cancer treatment he had an article published in The Washington Post called “Cancer of the tongue doesn’t take all joy from sharing meals with a loving wife,” which was about how he dealt with having a feeding tube. He hoped that this article would help others in a similar position.
He was born on October 11, 1947 in Philadelphia, PA to Thomas Francis Baker Sr. and Margaret H. Bachman Baker. He was the oldest of four children: Margaret “Peggy” Baker Dahm, Charles Baker, and Louis Baker. He was always very close to his family and acted as a protective older brother. When he was 9 years old he moved with his family to Tom’s River, NJ. At 17 years old, he left the home and went on to attend college at Duquesne University. He later went on to the University of Pittsburgh to obtain his law degree.
He dedicated 36 years of his career to public service as an attorney before retiring in 2009. For most of his career, he worked in different agencies within the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice. During this time he received the 1994 Chief Counsel Legal Services National Advisory Opinions Award for going “above and beyond” for the clients he served. His co-workers knew him to be a natural leader and someone who could get things done. Although he was very efficient, stories of his non-traditional work antics made him somewhat of a legend in his workplace.
He married his wife, Beverly Baker, on November 12, 1983 in St. Agnes Church in Arlington, VA. They met while running George Washington’s Mount Vernon Classic 10-mile race in Alexandria, VA. He was a devoted and supportive husband during the 29 years they were married. Family was always the most important aspect of his life. He always maintained communication with his immediate family. On July 18, 1988 he and his wife welcomed their only child into the world, Thomas Francis Baker III. They chose to raise him in the DC Metropolitan area. He was always a proud father and enjoyed doing many activities with his son as he grew up. His family will always remember the fun they had on holidays with him and the many enjoyable vacations they took together.
Professionally and personally, he was known to be passionate and determined. He enjoyed creating stained glass and mosaic works of art. He traveled all over the world. He enjoyed reading, creative writing, listening to music, going to plays, and exercising. When he was younger, he ran 4 Marine Corps marathons. He was proud of being an active contributing member to the Oral Cancer Foundation Support Forum. He touched many lives by giving support to others who were also battling oral cancer. He also enjoyed being an “Alexandria Destination Expert” for tripadvisor.com. Anyone who knew him would say that he was “quite the character” and was an excellent father, attorney, friend, and husband. He had an enthusiasm for life that was unparalleled. He always liked to tell stories and make people laugh. On May 6, 2013 a memorial service will take place at 10am at St. Agnes Catholic Church, the same place he made his wedding vows, in Arlington, VA.
Proceeds of Thomas Francis Baker Jr. Memorial Fund will go to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an IRS registered 501c3 non-profit charity. Your donations are tax deductible. Donations that the foundation receives from this fund will go to oral cancer research projects, and public awareness events.