Gary Dean Baker, was born in Okemah, on Dec. 7, 1940, to Morris and Thelma Jones Baker and died Monday, March 12, 2018.
During high school in Jenks, he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Dieudoneé Dikeman. They married and just recently celebrated their 59th anniversary. They had three children.
Gary attended North Eastern State after graduating high school in 1958. He then joined the Air Force in 1959, serving as an Air Police Officer at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines until March 1962.
He sold insurance for a short time and then was employed 35-years with Koch Industries. Starting as a mechanics’ helper, he was promoted to more positions, including pipeliner, gager, chief gager, superintendent, division manager and vice-president of Koch Pipeline. This led him through the Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma communities, including Alaska where he developed a crude oil gathering system on the North Slope in 1970. In 1984, he was promoted within Koch Industries in Wichita, Kan., reaching his highest position as president of Koch Services.
He was an avid cook, entertainer and he endeavored in several house flipping projects, eventually building his home. He loved being outdoors and they added many miles to their RV, traveling to watch grandkids participate in various sports and activities. He spent his evening hours outside gardening his favorite vegetables.
In 1997 he experienced his first major heart attack, leaving him with congestive heart failure. He continued to work until 1999. His dream house with 11 acres was in Ponca City. Hosting several family reunions, alumni class get-togethers and he loved having his children, grandchildren and their friends visit often. His family and friends spent countless hours gathered around him at the dinner table—listening to him reminisce on his family memories, laughing at his witty jokes and learning many life lessons. He was a member of First Christian Church, where he volunteered for Friendship Feasts and enjoyed companionship with his pastor. He and Liz particularly enjoyed going to get “BBQ,” which was code for hitting the slots at the casino. After facing another stroke in 2008, his congestive heart failure progressed and Liz began showing signs of what was later diagnosed as Lewy Body Dementia. They relocated to Bedford, Texas in 2014.
He is survived by his loving wife, Liz, currently residing in a Memory Care facility receiving 24 hour care; daughters, Denise Weber, Bedford, Texas, Lorrie Chavez, Towanda, Kan. and son, Lance Baker, Bedford, Texas; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; siblings, Sue Featherston, Tulsa, Dolores Bradley, Jenks and Greg Baker, Tulsa. Also surviving are nieces, nephews, cousins, extended Baker and Jones families, many, many friends and his faithful, four-legged companion, Karlee.
Preceding his death are his parents; baby brother, James Morris Jr. and many loyal dogs he loved throughout the years.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, March 16. There will be a family and friends luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 17. The celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. Burial immediately following service in Highland Cemetery in Okemah. Visitation, meal and service will all be held at Parks Brothers Funeral Home, 301 North Third Street, Okemah, OK 74859
Following burial, there will be coffee and desserts at Sacred Grounds Brew Shop for all who can stay to visit and reminisce.
Online condolences may be made at www.ParksBrothersFuneralHome.com.