Funeral services for Bro. W.L. Baker are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home with Bro. Joe Johnson, Bro. Russ Stephens and Bro. Donald Owens officiating. Interment will follow at Salem Cemetery at Liberty. Visitation was Monday from 1-8 p.m. and will be Tuesday after 9 a.m. at Ligon & Bobo.
Bro. Baker, 105, of Lebanon, passed away on his birthday, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 at Elmcroft Assisted Living.
William Lewis Baker was born Aug. 3, 1908, in New Middleton, Tenn., to Pleas and Dora Allison Baker. A native of Smith County, at the age of 12, he moved with his family including brothers, Horace and Earl, to Lebanon. After graduating from Lebanon High School, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Cumberland University in 1930. He then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for one year before transferring to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. where he earned a TH. B. Degree in 1932.
He was married to Bonnie L. Anderson of Liberty in 1932, who died Dec. 13, 1952. His second marriage was to Olive Pearle Stark in 1954 who died July 23, 1982. He also was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and their spouses; and son-in-law, Malcolm Sloan.
Bro. Baker began his ministry in 1932 at two small country churches near Springfield: Hopewell Baptist in Mt. Pleasant and Springfield Chapel on Sunday nights. From there he was called to First Baptist Church in Jonesborough, Tenn. for six and a half years. His third pastorate was at First Baptist Church in Donelson, Tenn. from 1949-1973. From 1964-71, he served the Southern Baptist Convention in the following areas: Executive Board 1964-70; Historical Commission 1965-70; Trustee of Belmont College 1965-71; Board of Managers for Tennessee Children’s Home, Franklin; Trustee of the Relief & Annuity Board, S.B.C., Dallas, Texas.
One of his fondest memories was delivering the “Sermon on the Mount” from memory, at Baird Chapel, Cumberland College in October 1975. Since retiring in 1973, Bro. Baker continued to minister by serving 27 churches as Interim Pastor, the last being Calvary Baptist Church on Sparta Pike, Lebanon.
He is survived by his “daughter” Ann Baker Sloan of Lebanon; four grandchildren, Bill Sloan of Lebanon; Malcolm Sloan Jr. of Hermitage; David (Gena) Sloan of Mt. Juliet; and Sharon Sloan (Victor) Jeffreys of Mount Hope, Ala.; six great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.