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Marshall, AR 72650
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Johnny Cleveland Baker III
March 24, 1945  -  April 18, 2019

 

A loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, Johnny Cleveland Baker III, age 74, of Conway returned to his Heavenly home on Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at Baptist Health in Conway, AR. Known as “Johnny” in his hometown of Marshall and “John” in central Arkansas, Dad was born March 24th, 1945 to John Cleveland Baker Jr. and Priscilla Bryant Baker in Harrison. Growing up in the small town of Marshall, John played varsity basketball and served as class president. He played guitar and loved his red 1966 Mustang three-speed.

After graduating from the University of Central Arkansas, John pursued a career in accounting, owning several H&R Block franchises and an independent accounting business in Harrison, Morrilton, and Conway. John never compromised honesty and integrity in his work, always trying to give his clients the best service possible.

Years of deskwork took their toll on his health and in the late 90s, John began dedicating himself to physical fitness. He could be found in the gym up to five days a week. John enjoyed “competing” with his daughter on their exercise dedication and effort. This became a daily conversation between them, enjoying listening to each other’s workout and trying to ‘one up’ the other each day. Even knee replacement surgery in 2017 couldn’t prevent him from continuing his exercise regime. John also enjoyed spending time working in his yard and “helping” his children with their landscaping. No one could uproot 20-year-old boxwoods with a truck and a chain like John Baker!
John loved spending time with his family and friends. He would drive across the state to watch his kids and grandchildren in whatever sport, musical concert, or academic event they had, even if they only performed for a few minutes. He would usually follow up the event with a phone call saying, “Man, I really enjoyed watching you!” It only took John 12 years to figure out how to operate the camera on his cell phone, at which point he made up for lost time by photographing every gathering and activity with his friends and family. John was able to check off multiple bucket list items in recent years with trips to Europe, Alaska, and across the US with his wife and family, apparently documenting every waking moment. The family found over two thousand digital photos in John’s files after his death.
He was a prolific card writer for holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. And if the recipient wasn’t quick with a ‘thank you’, John would call and say, “Did you not get my card?” The recipient was always embarrassed. Don’t ask how we know.

John was a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Conway for many years. Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, was John’s great passion at the time of his death. Each year he would source dozens of empty shoe boxes, then fill each one with a variety of school supplies, hygiene items, and toys. John delivered over 1,000 boxes to needy children all around the world. When asked why he did it, his answer was, “They need to know about Jesus and they need these things to be healthy.” John would quietly tell church staff to let him know if any child or any adult needed funding to attend a camp or faith building course. Over several years, John provided finances to allow many Conway children and adults to further their faith by attending these events. John was committed to his small home church group, and often talked about how much he enjoyed spending time, worshipping, and learning from his friends.

His sports passion was basketball. He would watch any game that came on tv. In later years, he greatly enjoyed an annual trip to watch an entire week of “March Madness” college tournament games live with his son and grandson. Together they would pick a regional location and fly or drive to watch every game and practice for the week. In one stretch, John watched live as three consecutive teams won their region before winning the coveted national title. John also enjoyed fishing, although jokingly would say he was cursed with three children who couldn’t care less about wetting a hook. He would selflessly put away rod and reel to spend time with his friends and family, enjoying their company more than anything in the world. Whatever they were into, John Baker wanted to share in their joy. John Baker found many ways to say, “I love you”.
He is missed dearly by his family starting with Georgia, a loving wife of the home for 27 years, a sister Susan (Dee) Webb of Conway, three children: Chris (Rinda), Jackie (Steve Presley), and Clint (Trish) and grandchildren: Justin, Lauren (Randy Siwiec), Lake, Grant, Ashton, Delaney, and James, two great-grandchildren Hagen and Ty; three step-children, Kelly Huie, Katy (Robert Slater), Joella (Justin Whittaker), grandchildren: Kelley Lee, Ethan, Hannah, Tessa, and Tristin and two step-great grandchildren, Coltyn and Dakoda.

A celebration of life service will be held at Fellowship Bible Church in Conway on Monday, April 22nd starting at 2pm with a reception immediately following. Visitation will be at Roller-Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall, AR on Tuesday, April 23rd from 12-1pm and funeral services immediately following from 1-2pm. John will be laid to rest next to his beloved parents in the Baker parcel of East Lawn Cemetery, east of Marshall.


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