James Wilburn “Peck” Baker, of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas departed from this life on June 11, 2022, in Jonesboro, Arkansas at the grand age of 97.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Earnestine Callahan Baker; infant twin daughters, Marsha and Marzee Baker; his parents, James V. and Velma Wiley Baker; his two brothers, Harold Leonard Baker and Gerald Devon Baker; and his sister, Marzee Ann Baker Wade.
He is survived by one son, Robin O. Baker; one daughter, Monica Probst; three grandchildren, Octavious “Tave” James Baker, John Paul Baker and Monica Rae Baker Norton; two nephews, Shane Baker and Kevin Wade, four nieces, Donna Fagan, Patti Ann McGrevey, Genia Poulette, and Annie Grobe; several great nephews and nieces, as well as many other close relatives and friends.
J.W. Baker was born in Nettleton, Arkansas on December 26, 1924. His grandfather moved to Mammoth Spring, AR in the early 1920s to operate a hotel. His father followed and moved his family to the foothills of the Ozarks in the 1930s, as he took on a career on the Frisco Railroad. J.W. grew up loving the beautiful Ozark region as a boy and young man as he fished the rivers and hunted the woods.
In 1943, J.W. entered the U.S. Navy. He honorably served his country in World War II, as he spent over two years traveling throughout the Pacific Islands on a Navy vessel. He was discharged from the Navy at the end of the war in 1946.
He then returned home to Thayer, Missouri, where he met Earnestine Faye Callahan, of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. In 1947, he began his career working for the Frisco Railroad, working in the roundhouse. From the roundhouse, he became a Fireman stoking the fire on the steam engine trains.
He was united in marriage on December 31, 1948 after two years of courtship to Earnestine Faye Callahan and together they celebrated over 50 years of marriage.
As J.W. continued his career on the Frisco railroad, by 1960, he had become a locomotive engineer. He drove those trains down the tracks until his retirement from the, then known as, Burlington Northern Railroad in 1985. Upon his retirement, he had big plans on how he was going to be able to relax and enjoy all his favorite pastimes.
Peck, as he was known to his family and friends, was an avid golfer, fisherman, gardener, and sports enthusiast. Over the course of the next 30 years and into his old age, he got to enjoy endless days on the golf course, sitting in a boat or on the bank of the Spring River, working in his vegetable and fruit gardens, and spending time with the family and friends that he loved dearly.
He was a member of the Mammoth Spring United Methodist Church,
He will be truly missed and, in our hearts, forever.
Funeral services for J.W. “Peck” Baker will be held on Friday, June 17, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at the Carter Funeral Home Chapel in Thayer, Missouri with Jamie Alexander officiating.
Interment will be on Friday, June 17, 2022, in Riverside Cemetery in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas with services under the direction of Carter Funeral Home, Inc. in Thayer, Missouri.