Clark Eugene Baker passed from this earth October 15, 2017, at the age of 93 years. He was staying at his daughter's (Deborah Baker) home in Lake Oswego, Ore.
Clark was born July 27, 1924, in Rossville, Ill.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma J. (Gray) Baker, and his brothers Barthel Baker and Robert Baker.
His survivors include his children, Deborah Baker of Lake Oswego, Ore., Betty Johnson (Martin Johnson), and two grandchildren, Claire Johnson and Thorin Johnson, all of Champaign/Urbana, Ill.
Clark grew up on a farm near Rossville, where he learned the value of frugality. He helped milk cows and plant crops. He graduated from Rossville H.S. in 1942.
He then attended the University of Illinois in CU until he answered Uncle Sam's call. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps, graduated from flying school in 1945, then served in the 15th Weather Squadron in the Southwest Pacific, as pilot, flying a C-47 from Melbourne, Australia, to Northern Philippines. He enjoyed recounting his harrowing experiences piloting over the open Pacific, often without electronic navigation aids.
During and after the war, Clark connected with his future wife, Wilma J Gray, also from Rossville. He married her on April 3, 1947, while attending the Citadel in South Carolina because Clark did not want to wait until after graduation. They were married for 65 years.
After graduating from the Citadel in 1949 with his bachelor's in Civil Engineering, he obtained a license as a Registered Professional Engineer, then worked for the C&EI Railroad. He surveyed and oversaw projects to lay new railroad tracks in Southern Illinois.
His career interests then focused on municipalities, and he became a city engineer in various cities in Illinois, such as, Downers Grove, Wilmette, Charleston, Springfield then Danville. He retired as city engineer from Danville, Ill., in 1989.
Clark's hobbies were camping, fishing and hunting. He even went on a hunting/camping trip in Colorado with friends to elk hunt on horseback. Later in life he enjoyed golfing. Clark had so much vitality that he remodeled several homes for his family and actually built a home, with some help, in Charleston, Ill.
Clark was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of Shriners, Kiwanis, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Public Works Assoc., Illinois Society of Professional Engineers.
After retirement, he and his wife, Wilma, traveled throughout the U.S. and took many cruises and were "snow birds" in Florida over winters and visited their daughter in Oregon over summers. They enjoyed their retirement as well as their family and especially their grandchildren.
His ashes will be interred at the National Cemetery in Danville, Ill. A private memorial will be held at a later date.
Published on January 19, 2018