Retired North Carolina Bishop Dies

Episcopal News Service. April 16, 1981 [81127]

Baltimore -- The Rt. Rev. Richard Henry Baker, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, died here April 12 at the age of 83.

A funeral service was held at 2:30 p. m. on April 15 in the Church of the Redeemer here and in congregations throughout the Diocese of North Carolina.

Baker was bishop coadjutor in the diocese from 1951 to 1959 when he became diocesan bishop.

Born in Norfolk, Va., in 1897, he attended the Episcopal High School in Alexandria and was graduated from the University of Virginia and Virginia Theological Seminary.

He spent two years in military service in France during World War I where he was a driver with a French ambulance unit on the front lines. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal for courageous service under fire.

Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1924, he served churches in Virginia and Louisiana before becoming rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore in 1931. He served in that post for twenty years until he was elected bishop coadjutor of North Carolina. In 1959 he succeeded Bishop Edwin A. Penick. After 15 years of active service in the episcopate in the diocese, he retired in 1965 and moved to Baltimore.

"Bishop Baker was loved as a friend and a pastor by all who knew him," said the Rt. Rev. Thomas A. Fraser who succeeded Baker as Bishop of North Carolina. "In all the years since I first met him in 1938, I've never met anyone with a greater love of people. He was always a trusted friend and a source of strength for me during my episcopate and the whole Church will miss him."

Baker is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Lee Small Baker; a son, the Rev. Richard H. Baker, Jr., Hudson, Ohio, instructor in religion at Case-Western Reserve University; a daughter, Mrs. Walter Merriman Hill of Baltimore; and a brother, Dr. Benjamin M. Baker, Jr., of Baltimore.