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AYER — Donald P. Baker, 82, died at his home with his family on Oct. 9, 2010 from colon cancer. Don was born in Des Moines, Iowa on Nov. 13, 1927. He grew up in Des Moines until he enlisted in the Army in January 1946.

Don served on continuous active duty in the Army for more than 23 years, retiring in July 1969 to Ayer. His exceptional organizational ability was identified early in his military career and resulted in many early promotions. He rose to the rank of sergeant major by the age of 36 in the Army Security Agency, specializing in communications, intelligence and security operations. One of his earliest assignments was to organize the opening of the ASA training center at Fort Devens. He would return to Fort Devens many times during his fulfilling career, which included service in Korea and multiple assignments to Germany. These tours in Germany were especially memorable for him and his family. After retirement from the Army he worked for many years at Fitchburg Colonial Aviation in Fitchburg.

Don had many interests and was an energetic member of various service organizations. He loved to fly. Don held a private pilot’s license for single- and multi-engine planes and for many years was an active leader of the Fort Devens Flying Club. He served as Worshipful Master of the Tahattawan Masonic Lodge in Littleton and was also appointed District Grand Master of the Fitchburg 13th Masonic District. His involvement with his Masonic lodge included a great number of civic activities. At holidays he relished playing Santa at local nursing homes and hospitals. In retirement, Don volunteered during the spring and summer with the Ayer Planning Board and the Board of Health. In the winter, Don and his wife, Betty, went to Estero, Fla., where they had many friends and happy times.

Don is survived by his wife, Betty Baker, also of Ayer. They were high-school sweethearts and were married for 64 years. Don and his wife had two children, Cindy Baker Irby with husband Pierce of Charlotte, NC; Donald S. Baker and his wife, Pam of Ayer. The family includes four grandchildren: Nicki Baker Malboeuf, and husband Scott of Fitchburg; Amy Baker Gebru of Ayer; Linnzi Baker of Martinsburg, W.V. and Kyle Irby of Richmond, Va. There are also five great-grandchildren: Mikala Malboeuf, Mollee Malbeouf, Eliajah Gebru, Yenae Gebru, and Yaacob Gebru. The great-grandchildren loved their “Beeper Airplane” dearly and all the fun they had with him.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at the T.J. Anderson & Son Funeral Home, 25 Fitchburg Road, Route 2A, Ayer. Please see www.andersonfuneral.com for additional information.

Calling hours are 5-8 p.m. Friday.

In lieu of flowers a donation can be made to Commonwealth Hematology — Oncology, John Cumming Building, Suite 200, Concord, MA, 01742, Colon Cancer Research.

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