David K. Baker, 1924~2018
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David K. Baker, 1924~2018
David K. Baker, 1924~2018
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David K. Baker, 93, passed away peacefully at his home in Moab, with his family by his side April 5, 2018. He was born in Grand Junction, Colo., on Nov. 3, 1924, as the first child to John David and Edith Van Cleave Baker. He married Shirley Burdick on Nov. 26, 1945 in Grand Junction. To this union was born three sons, Gary, Ed and Stan.

Dave is survived by his two sons, Ed (Sally) Baker, Parachute, Colo., and Stan (Chris) Baker, Moab; eight grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and five sisters, Barbara Drapeau (Denver, Colo.), Evlyn Williams (Macon, Mo.), Helen Baysinger (Craig, Colo.), Reba Baysinger (Milliken, Colo.), and Dorothy Thiele (Sterling, Colo.) as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Shirley, his son Gary David, two brothers, Bart and Dewey, one sister, Arleen Whitbeck and daughter-in-law Mary O’Neal Baker.

Dave was raised on a homesteaded ranch on Conn Creek, north of De Beque, Colo. He, his two sisters and younger brother rode horseback five miles to the Conn Creek School through eighth grade and later moved closer to De Beque during the school year to attend high school. At a youthful age he worked for neighbors cutting and putting up hay, herding cattle and horses. He was proud of his horsemanship and family tradition of raising and breaking horses.

Dave played and lettered in basketball and baseball at De Beque High School and met the love of his life, Shirley Burdick. They married in 1945 and Shirley and Dave lived on the former Watley Ranch (now known as the High Lonesome Ranch) at Kimball Creek, near De Beque. Dave was a cowboy and ranch hand. They lived there until 1949 before moving with their new two-year-old son, Gary, to Moab to work for Shirley’s sister and brother-in-law, Verda and D.A. Swanny Kerby in the rodeo business.

During the early 1950s Dave worked at the Skakel Ranch, just west of Moab and helping survey new roads in the Moab area with the Bureau of Public Roads. Like many others at the time, he got involved with the uranium boom, hoping to get rich staking and promoting mining claims. Ed was born and added to the family in 1950 and Stan in 1956.

When the uranium mill started he worked there nine years processing uranium. Later he worked various jobs until he found the ideal job for him, working as a maintenance man with the National Park Service. He started out in 1966 building viewpoint decks for the Natural Bridges National Monument. A couple years later he took the maintenance position at Island in The Sky in Canyonlands National Park and later transferred to Arches National Park, where he retired in 1990.

He enjoyed working outdoors, meeting tourists and sharing his knowledge of the area. Following retirement, he and Shirley traveled, visiting and caretaking family and friends. He was proud of his yard and the “Best Garden in Moab”

Services will be Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m. at the St. Francis Episcopal Church, 250 West Kane Creek Blvd. in Moab. A viewing will be held Friday, April 13, 2018 between 6 and 8 p.m. at Spanish Valley Mortuary in Moab. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to a charity of choice.

Condolences can be sent to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com.


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