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Stephen M Baker
September 24, 1942 ~ August 30, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
Dr. Stephen M. Baker went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. He loved Jesus and lived a life of profound service, fulfilling his calling to deeply care for the needs of others. Steve was born September 24, 1942, in Roanoke, Virginia to parents Cecil and Rachel Baker. Growing up in Roanoke, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and received a full basketball scholarship to attend Roanoke College where he excelled on the court and later was inducted into the Roanoke College Basketball Hall of Fame. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in History, Steve began his renowned career in public education, teaching high school history and coaching basketball and track. He would later pursue and receive his Master’s Degree from Radford University and Doctorate Degree from the University of Virginia in Education. A gifted, prepared, and innovative educational leader, Steve would go on to serve as an Assistant Principal (Lynchburg City), Principal and Assistant Superintendent (West Point), and Superintendent of Schools (West Point/King William and Hanover Counties). Throughout his distinguished career, Steve received numerous awards and acknowledgements, including being honored for his exceptional leadership in Hanover County as the 1993 Virginia Superintendent of the Year. In 1995, Steve retired from Virginia and began serving as the Executive Director of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), responsible for overseeing and leading the accreditation of elementary and middle schools throughout a large region of the Southeast United States. His pioneering and innovative drive resulted in significant expansion and improvement in services to public and private schools across the nation. Throughout his life, Steve placed his relationship with Jesus Christ as first among his many priorities. He was a licensed, ordained Minister who taught Sunday School at Ray of Hope Pentecostal Holiness Church in Richmond Virginia for almost two decades. Later retiring to Florida with his wife Judith (Judy) Baker, the two joined Happy Gospel Church in Bradenton, Florida in which Steve served as a board member for eight years under the leadership of Bill Bailey. Stephen Baker was a very loving, devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. He loved the Lord with all his heart and made a point of exhibiting his love for God to others. His impact on so many is immense, and he will be sorely missed. He is preceded in death by his parents Cecil and Rachel and brothers Jerry and Danny Baker. Stephen leaves cherished memories to his wife of 59 years Judy Baker; daughter Melinda (David) Setchel; son Stephen Scott (Dawn) Baker; grandchildren Joshua, Adam, Stephen Setchel, Noel and Paul Baker; siblings Chris Baker, Sharon Hartman and Karen Turner. Celebration of Life Memorial Services for Dr. Stephen Baker will be held at 5pm Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Happy Gospel Church 1915 53rd Avenue East Bradenton, Florida and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at New Life Christian Ministries 5745 Airport Rd NW, Roanoke, Virginia 24012.