Tom Baker, longtime publisher of The Times of Waitsburg, made life easy on his obituary writers.
With an assist from the son who followed him into journalism, the lifelong journalist wrote his own, in the form of a farewell column to the community he loved.
Baker, 86, died Nov. 14 at Booker Rest Home in Dayton after a short period of declining health. He was born April 17, 1930, in Fort Morgan, Colo.
His daughter, Peggy Mudd of Pasco, said he was a journalist from a young age and even published a small newspaper as a student in the town where he grew up.
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Later, after he graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and started a family with his wife, Anita, he turned to a broker to help find the right opportunity.
The criteria were simple: The couple wanted to move to a community with “a newspaper and a Presbyterian Church.”
In 1963, the Bakers packed up two cars, two U-Hauls and three children and drove to Waitsburg from Colorado.
Anita and Tom Baker published The Times from 1964 to 1991.
Baker also served two terms as mayor of Waitsburg and was active in civic groups and the Waitsburg Presbyterian Church. He documented his observations in his longtime column, “TOMfoolery” and wrote frequent letters to the editor of the Tri-City Herald.
In his final TOMfoolery column, ghost-written by son Loyal, Baker reminisced about the floods of 1964 and other community milestones.
In addition to his wife of 64 years, Anita, and daughter Peggy, Baker is survived by an extensive family, including sons Charlie, a teacher, and Loyal, publisher of the Dayton Chronicle.
Graveside services are at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Waitsburg City Cemetery. Memorial services will follow at 11 a.m. at Waitsburg Presbyterian Church and there will be a lunch reception at Waitsburg Town Hall.