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Adair Living History, Inc, and the world of historic preservation at large, lost a good friend. John Harvard Baker, known to family and friends as Jack, passed away April 15, 2024, in Newport. He was 90.

He is the author of the well known book “Camp Adair – The Story of a World War II Cantonment.”

John was born in Devils Lake, ND to Henry Wallace Baker and Wilma Cassidy Baker. In 1939, he, his parents, and Sister Barbara (Donna Baker) Sheldon moved to Portland and then, later that year, to Salem. While growing up, he played basketball, golf and ran cross county. He loved Salem and his neighborhood, schools, and friends.

He got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. Then spent 2 years on active duty in the Army. He taught at Rainier High School, then at South Salem High School. He went back to the University of Oregon for his Master of Fine Arts. He then worked as a Dean at Mount Angel College and was working there while he earned his PhD from Oregon State University.

He met his wife, Carol (Alvord) Baker while teaching at South Salem High. They married in 1962 and were separated by her death in 2017. He built a cabin on Woahink Lake, near Florence, during their early marriage. It is still used and loved by his family. Their first child, Gordon, was born in Florence. Ellen and Larry were born while the family lived in Silverton.

In 1973, John was hired by the Lincoln County School District as an administrator, and the Bakers (John, Carol, Gordon, Ellen, and Larry) moved to Newport. John spent his adult life as a Renaissance man there. He is a published author of poetry and history. He worked in education, both as a teacher and administrator. He and Carol were entrepreneurs, opening the Cape House, a kitchen store, and developing the Bay Bridge Mall. They opened and operated Northwest Management Specialists, a consulting firm emphasizing personal development and managing, marketing, and facilitating. He was a founding member of the Seaburg Company, a manufacturer of medical products.

John was deeply committed to Newport civic life. Community involvement included Newport Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Newport, Lincoln County Historical Society, Oregon Coast Council of the Arts, the development of Oregon Coast Community College, Newport Public Library Board, Samaritan PCH Board of Directors, Optimist Club of Yaquina Bay, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and membership at Atonement Lutheran Church (1973-2024), where he and Carol had many close friends. In recognition of his contributions, he was named a Community Legend by Oregon Coast Council of the Arts in 2009.

He loved his family and had a connection with his North Dakota roots and Baker relatives always. In addition to Carol and his children, he loved spending time with his sister Barbara and her husband Doug.

In his later years, he made good friends at Newport’s 60+ Activity Center and Big Creek Apartments. In addition to Sunday services at Atonement Lutheran Church, he attended breakfast meetings with the church men’s group and a group of engineer friends.

His surviving family includes his son Gordon and daughter Ellen; Gordon’s wife Patty and son Evan; Ellen’s husband Otis and their extended family, kids, and grandkids.