Duane Baker was born in Beeville, Texas on June 18, 1928 to Henry Ellie Baker and Ione Bundrant Baker. He was the only son with three sisters. Unfortunately, Dad had to grow up quickly at a young age when his father, who was also his very best friend, died when Dad was only 7 years old. During the depths of the Great Depression, Dad had a mother and his three sisters that he had to help support. These were the days before social safety nets were commonplace. Dad worked hard all his life to provide an easier life for his family whom he loved dearly.
Dad met and fell in love with Mary Jeanne Gee when she moved to Beeville during their high school years. Mom and Dad married in Beeville on July 3, 1948. Both worked hard and started a family during the 1950’s having three children, David Duane, Pamela Jeanne and Scott McNeill. After moving from Beeville for a time to Louisiana while working for Union Producing Company, they returned home to Beeville when Dad was transferred back. In the mid-60’s Dad was approached by Dan A. Hughes and his brother about joining them in a start-up Oil and Gas Exploration company, now known as Dan A. Hughes Company. Dad became General Manager and over time, the company grew and became very successful. Dad was always proud of the hand he had in developing and shepherding a very successful business…but, we are even more proud of the lives he touched and the impact he had on people throughout his life.
Partly due to his childhood without much money or the opportunities provided by having money, Dad was always grounded and had a natural empathy and compassion for those around him that were less fortunate. He was always willing to lend a hand to others that were willing to work hard in order to better themselves. To this day, it is still such an honor when a longtime friend or a kid that Dad encouraged and made a profound impact on comes up to David, Pam or Scott and asks how Mr. Baker is doing. Often that leads to them recalling a certain event in their lives where Dad was important to them in some way. Dad loved coaching Little League Baseball when David and Scott played. Additionally, he and Mom recall fondly working as Sunday School leaders for the Young Married Couples department at First Baptist Church. Some years later, he was honored to be a Deacon at the church. He was and is still loved by many.
Although Mom and Dad moved to Corpus Christi in 2003 in order to be closer to family, they have always considered Beeville home and would return for visits with friends any chance they could.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to all the caregivers for Dad over the past few years. We especially want to thank Azucena Cueva and Michelle Hernandez with Assist Home Health for their loving care for Dad.
Dad was preceded in death by his father, mother and 2 sisters, Evelyn Walker and Mozelle Helmick.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jeanne, along with their three children, David, Pam and Scott (Jeri). Mom and Dad have seven grandchildren, David Duane Baker, Jr. (Shawn), Desiree Ann Beene (Jeremy), Shara Jeanne McCray (Mike), Mallary Ann Mann (Sean), Dustin Scott Baker (Mandi), Ryan Michael Baker (Lisa) and Kristen Michelle Pickhartz (Eric), along with 14 great-grandchildren, and Dad’s sister, Nellene Warren.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at Galloway & Sons Funeral Home Chapel in Beeville.
The funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at First Baptist Church with Rev. Greg Traylor officiating. Burial will follow at Glenwood Cemetery in Beeville.
Pallbearers will be his grandchildren, David Duane Baker, Jr., Jeremy Beene, Mike McCray, Sean Mann, Dustin Scott Baker, Ryan Michael Baker, Eric Pickhartz and Austin McCray.
Memorial donations may be made to South Texas Children's Home, P.O. Box 759, Beeville, TX 78104-0759.
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