Donald C. Baker | News, Sports, Jobs

Donald C. Baker, 95, of Martinsburg, died suddenly on Christmas Eve 2021, at Conemaugh Nason Medical Center, Roaring Spring. Don was born in Altoona, son of Sam and Ethel (Mierly) Baker. He lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way!

He attended Crawford Elementary School, a one-room school in Sinking Valley, from grades 1 to 8. In second grade, Don was wowed by a freshman named Mary Pearl Parks. He knew she would be his wife, even though she didn’t care much about him back then!

After graduating from Altoona High School in 1944, Don joined the Navy until his honorable release after World War II.

On his first leave from home, he approached to visit Mary in Navy uniform. She was walking down her alley with no makeup and her hair in curlers. When their eyes met, he opened his arms, then she ran to him and gave him a hug that lasted for over 74 years. On June 25, 1948, Don married the love of his life, Mary Pearl Parks “Group” with whom were born four sons: Robin, Todd, Kurt and Britt.

Among his many jobs, he is best known for having been the chief photographer of the Altoona Mirror for many years. He designed and built Pleasure Island Golf at Lakemont Park as well as the two homes they have lived in over the years. He worked behind the scenes with Robin and his wife Ruth at the Altoona Film Center and State College.

Some highlights in Don’s life have been family beach vacations, wintering in Florida, and many trips including over 50 cruises, trips, and living on his own ship.

Don leaves behind his 74-year-old wife, Mary; and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, both of Homewood in Martinsburg; sons, Todd (Sherri) of Hollidaysburg, Kurt (Vicky) of Berryville, Virginia and Britt (Sue) of Altoona; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

His eldest son, Robin, unfortunately predeceased him in death.

A celebration of life will take place at a later date.

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