Jewell Baker

Mrs. Jewell Rosalee Henderson Baker was born October 20, 1924, daughter of the late Horace F. Henderson and the late Fannie Patterson Henderson in Pine Bluff, Ark. She departed this life on December 12, 2013.

During her childhood, Jewell became grounded in her Christian faith and was a longtime member of Barraque Baptist Church. Later she joined St. Paul AME Church in Brinkley, Ark. with her husband. After the death of her husband in 1983, Jewell converted to Catholicism and became a faithful member of St. Peter Catholic Church.

She was educated in the Pine Bluff public schools, graduating from Merrill High School in 1942. She entered Arkansas Mechanical and Normal (AM&N) College where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics in 1946. Her first teaching position was in Stuttgart, Ark. where she met Addington C. Baker whom she married in 1948. Subsequently, she furthered her education at the University of Arkansas, and at Iowa State University.

Later she and her husband relocated to Cotton Plant, Ark. where she joined the staff at Cotton Plant Vocational High School. In 1951 Jewell began teaching science and home economics at Marian Anderson High School in Brinkley, Ark. Her career in the in Brinkley Public School System spanned 35 years. An outstanding educator, Jewell made even the most rigorous or mundane topics come to life for her students, while challenging them to ascend to higher levels. In July 2013 she was honored by her former students at a school reunion for her unswerving dedication to them and the field of education.

Upon retiring, Jewell returned home to Pine Bluff and quickly became very active in the community and St. Peter Catholic Church. Additionally, she was a member of RSVP Volunteer Agency, Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association, Jefferson County Masters Gardeners, and Jefferson County AARP. She worked diligently with Neighbor to Neighbor until her health prevented her participation. As a catholic, her highest honor was being the recipient of the Daniel Rudd Award. This award is given every year at the Martin Luther King Mass to honor an African American who is active and has made a difference in his or her parish and community.

She leaves to celebrate her life and to cherish her memory, one sister, Kathleen Henderson Jefferson of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Brenda Baker and Linda Baker Ross (Thomas) both of Pine Bluff; three granddaughters, Carmen Ross Harris (Marco) of Land of Lakes, Fla., Rachel Ross Coleman (Tyrone) of Cedar Hills, Texas, and Ashley Ross Smith (Jeremy) of Dallas, Texas; five great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; cousins; and a host of dear friends.

Funeral Service will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, December 21, 2013 at St. Peter Catholic Church by Rev. Anil Thomas, SVD Pastor. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery Cedar Grove Section by Brown Funeral Home of Pine Bluff.

Rosary Service will be held Friday at St. Peter Catholic Church from 6-7 p.m.

The family will be at 7401 South Laurel Street, Pine Bluff.

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