Jean Weyman Baker, age 103, who lived at the Bermuda Village retirement community near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, died on Feb. 23, 2023, in the presence of her son and his wife.
She was born on Oct. 17, 1919, in Middletown, Ohio, the daughter of a senior accounting executive at Armco, a major steel company, and the granddaughter of German immigrants. Jean earned a degree in economics from Duke University, where she met her husband, Frank W. Baker. Upon graduation they moved to his hometown of Washington Court House, Ohio, where their two children were born. The family later relocated to nearby Chillicothe. Jean and Frank moved next to St. Simons Island, Georgia, and finally to about 100 miles from their alma mater in North Carolina.
In Chillicothe she co-founded an investment club and was frequently called in as a substitute high school math teacher. She believed that if she had been born in a later era, she might have entered a career utilizing her economics degree. She loved to read, especially biographies, and often recommended books to family members. Along with her husband, she was known for hosting lively parties.
Jean excelled at games and puzzles. She was an exemplary bridge player and up to the age of 100 gave bridge lessons to friends at her retirement community, where she was widely known and respected for her intellect and wit. She knew obscure versions of solitaire and an apparent rummy version she called “soda” rum and enjoyed crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
She was preceded in death by her husband, their daughter Gretchen Baker and two sisters who also lived to be over 100. Jean is survived by son Damon Baker and his wife Ann Baker of Columbus, Ohio, grandson Nicholas Baker, his wife Melissa Baker and great-grandchildren Simon and Louisa.
In a 2021 conversation, Jean encouraged her grandson to pass along this lesson: “You’ve got two wonderful children to teach love to. So don’t let them discriminate against anyone because they might be a little different. Teach them to love, too.”
She requested that the 1834 poem “Abou Ben Adhem” by noted British poet and critic Leigh Hunt be read at her memorial, as it was at her mother’s funeral in 1963.
Interment will be at the Washington Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio under the auspices of the Kirkpatrick Funeral Home.