Obituaries

Dr. Jesse Wheelock Baker (1934—2018)

GREENBUSH — Dr. Jesse Wheelock Baker is now flying with the angels and probably teaching them a few maneuvers, having joined them on June 19, 2018. One of his passions throughout his life was flying and teaching others to fly, so he is in great company. Jesse’s greatest love was his wife, Millie Walker, who brought a wonderful home and family into his life. An expert chef, he cherished meals with friends and family gatherings with his daughters, Joy and fiancé, Steve Daigle, and Lynn and spouse, Paul LeBlanc. His pride in and love for his grandchildren knew no bounds: Heather and Shane Plourde, Jordan and Riki Lynn Theriault; and one great-grandchild, Phoebe Lynn Travis. To be called PaPa was a source of great joy. To see each of his children was a time of gratitude and happiness.

Jesse was born on August 27, 1934, in Fort Kent, Maine, the first child of seven children born to Irene Daigle Baker and Alton D. Baker.  His siblings, in order of birth, included John A. Baker (deceased), Donald A. Baker, Eleanor B. Thibodeau (deceased), Hope E. Bates (Jerry), James R. Baker (Editha), and Joyce B. Hedlund (Wesley). From a young age, he had a deep interest in flying, fueled by his great mind for science and mathematics. This interest continued until the time of his passing. His first professional employment was that of agricultural inspector, and he worked on Long Island, New York, where he developed a further passion for flying while watching crop duster pilots spraying the fields. He moved to New Jersey, earning his commercial pilot’s license, and serving as a pilot for commuter airplanes as well as an instructor for private pilots. The strong desire to be an agriculture pilot brought him to Mississippi where he earned his credentials in agricultural spraying and seeding. Many stories were told about his flying experiences in Mississippi, Maine and throughout the country. 

Jesse returned to Fort Kent where he rejuvenated the Fort Kent Airport and taught flying to a number of St. John Valley residents, including his brothers, Don and John. His office was a lively place to gather and talk about the art of flying, the “hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror.” He purchased his own beautiful yellow and white      Ag-truck airplane and worked for farmers throughout Aroostook County, spraying and seeding fields. After an unfortunate accident with the plane, Jesse decided to pursue further education and earned a Doctor of Education from the University of Maine in May 1986. He was hired     by Husson University shortly after graduation and taught computer, management and small business courses for twenty-seven years until his retirement in 2013. During this time, he established and ran the Tax Clinic, a tax preparation service in the Old Town area. Jesse always said he would work until he died and was true to his word, having worked in the Tax Clinic until about eight weeks ago, when his poor health did not allow him to drive the short distance to his office. 

Jesse is survived by his wife, Millie; his family and a number of cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grand- nephews and friends. He was predeceased by his mother and father, brother, John and sister, Eleanor, and all his aunts and uncles.

A gathering to honor his life and to share stories will be held from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Birmingham Funeral Home in Old Town on June 30. Remembrances and prayers will be shared beginning at 11:30 a.m. Burial will be at a later date in the St. Louis Cemetery in Fort Kent.  Those wishing to honor Jesse’s memory are encouraged to make a contribution to the Old Town/Orono Animal Orphanage, PO Box 565, Orono, ME 04473 or a charity of your choice.

The family wishes to thank the Ross Manor and EMMC employees for their care, compassion, and support during Jesse’s recent illness. Special appreciation goes to Richard Huntley and Karen Dunton for their support for Jesse and their dedicated work on behalf of the Tax Clinic.

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