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Robert Merle Baker

August 16, 1949 ~ June 24, 2017 (age 67)

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Sharpsburg, MD – Lieutenant Commander Robert Merle “Bob” Baker, U.S. Navy (Retired), 67, of Sharpsburg, MD passed from this life on Saturday, June 24, 2017 after a lengthy and gallant battle with cancer.


He was the son of the late Merle C. Baker and Betty L. (Stottlemyer) Baker.


He is survived by Carol G. Baker, his loving wife of 40 years; son Staff Sergeant Ryan Christopher Baker, USMC of Jacksonville, NC; stepdaughter Tracy Niedzielski (Mark) of Marlborough, MA; stepson P. Wesley Caldwell of Florida; sister Judith Baker of Hagerstown, MD; sister Nancy O’ Sullivan of Washington, D.C.; sister Susan Baker of Sterling, VA; and five step grandsons.


Born and raised in Smithsburg, he was a 1967 graduate of Smithsburg High. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a radioman aboard USS Little Rock (CLG-4) in the Mediterranean.  After his enlisted service, he obtained an Associates’ degree from Hagerstown Junior College and subsequently received a BA in International Studies from American University.  He entered U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in 1977 and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer.  Over the next 16 years, he served in a variety of billets, including Communications, Navigation, Operations, and Executive Officer on a variety of ships, and was a Piloting and Celestial Navigation Instructor at Officer Candidate School.  He retired from active duty in 1993.  He was a veteran of the Gulf War, and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon for participation in minesweeping operations in Kuwaiti waters.  Following his naval service, he was instrumental in establishing a Navy Junior ROTC Program at Annapolis High School, and served on the faculty as the Naval Science Instructor for the next 18 years, retiring in 2011.  During his tenure, the Annapolis unit was judged as number one in the nation by the U.S. Navy League in 2008.  Following his second retirement, he returned to Washington County and settled near Dargan. 


He was a member of Williamsport United Methodist Church Williamsport, MD, where he volunteered with the Clothes of Hope, the Shepherd’s Table, and was an active member of the church choir, the Adult Fellowship, and the United Methodist Men. 


He was also a frequent volunteer at the Williamsport Community Food Bank.  He was also a member of the Board of Directors for the USS Little Rock Association, and was active with the Association’s scholarship program for many years, most recently chairing the Scholarship Committee.


He was also a member of the Military Officers Association of America, The Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 24, and the Williamsport American Legion Post #202.


Bob loved music, and in addition to singing with his church choir he sang with WitnesSing for many years, a group of Christian singers based in Anne Arundel County.


He was a songwriter, who loved to play his guitar and perform at various church venues. 


A celebration of life will be held at Williamsport United Methodist Church 25 E. Church St. Williamsport, MD at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 30, 2017, officiated by Rev. Susan E. Boehl.


Family and friends may pay their respects in the church sanctuary 1 hour prior to the service on Friday from 1:00-2:00 pm.  Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will follow at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Bob’s name to the John R. Marsh Cancer Center 11110 Medical Campus Rd. Suite 129 Hagerstown, MD 21742 or Hospice of Washington County 747 Northern Ave. Hagerstown, MD 21742 or the USS Little Rock Association Scholarship Fund c/o Frank Berglas 63 Barnes Rd. Stamford, CT 06902-1201.


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