Monday, November 21, 2016

Raymond Orestes Baker and Elma June Smith

Raymond Orestes Baker was born at Beaver, Utah 14 May 1904 to Daniel Ray Baker and Edith Sylvia Twitchell.  He was the oldest of six children.

He graduated from eighth grade in a school of 26 pupils and six grades when 13 years of age.  During this school year a terrible thing happened that should never happen to any boy. His father took sick and died from appendicitis at 3:45 am on 11 November 1917. His mother was just 32 years old and now had six children, including a baby, and a 46 acre farm to care for by herself.  When Raymond was just 14, it was time for raking the hay and the neighbors had turned out to help. The young mare took off and Raymond fell down in front of the hay rake.  His head and shoulders bounced along the ground for over 100 yards. His Uncle Alvin Twitchell was the first to reach him.  He turned him over and knowing some first aid attempted to straighten his twisted neck.  Raymond grunted and started breathing again. He was told that he was at death's door for 4 days and nights fully unconscious.  The elders administered to him and he soon awoke asking for his brother, Shirley, who had gone to town to celebrate the 4th of July. Raymond continued going to school as insisted upon by his mother and he graduated from Beaver High School in 1922. This same year his mother married a neighbor and friend of her deceased husband, Harry Green, who had lost his wife and only child.  This opened the way for Raymond to attend BYU. While a student, he worked on walkways and landscaping on the hill where Maeser Memorial Building is located.  He also worked as a janitor for 25 cents an hour while a student. After two years he taught at the one room school in Frisco after which he taught history in American Fork. He decided to go back to BYU for a higher degree.  He met June Smith, a fellow student, at a get acquainted dance.  They were married 9 May 1928 in the Salt Lake Temple and both worked hard so that Raymond could finish his degree.  Unfortunately, his mother passed away before seeing him graduate.  Raymond taught and was principal at several schools while working various jobs during the summer. They finally built a home in Draper on family land and Raymond continued to teach and to farm.

Elma June Baker (known as June) was born 3 June 1908 to Joseph Lauritz Smith and Melissa Ann Fitzgerald in Draper, Utah.  She became the oldest of nine children.

She grew up on Relation Street in a small home originally built by her great grandfather, Lauritz Smith, for his wife Maren (Mary).  She and Raymond and children built their first home just down the street from her parents.

 First three children, Rita, Ray, and Elma

In her younger years she loved to play softball and was a pitcher.

She kept a beautiful garden and enjoyed sitting on her front porch in the evenings watching the Wasatch Mountains change colors.  June and Raymond had seven children and adopted another daughter for a total of eight.

 Raymond and Elma with adopted daughter, LaRee

Her own father died at the fairly young age of 62, from cancer.  Unfortunately June's husband, Raymond, also died of cancer on 25 August 1975 at just 71 years of age.  June lived as a widow, just as her mother had, for many years. Her mother, Melissa, died in 1982.  June continued on until 21 May 2002 and was a wonderful grandma and great grandma.  She continued to enjoy life.

 June with her daughters, Kathleen, Rita, Elma, and Bonnie

When a new ride opened in an amusement park in California, she would fly down to visit her daughter, Elma, so that they could be the first ones in line.  Raymond and June are buried in the Draper, Cemetery.

Raymond and Elma with all of their children 
and Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith
Back row L to R; Phil, Elma, Ray, Rita, Kathleen, Joe
Front row L to R; LaRee, Bonnie, Raymond, June, Melissa

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