Family, friends mourn the passing of community leader, Daren Baker

Daren Baker, 79, a tireless community servant who was affectionately referred to as the “Mayor of Milan,” died suddenly on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH.

Mr. Baker’s gifts of service to Milan and the community at large are legendary. One of his “pet” projects was The Milan Lions Club where he held several offices and was a District Governor. Mr. Baker was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow award for lifetime achievement. He was instrumental in making the birthday calendar a fundraising project to support Milan scholarships offered by the Milan Lions Club annually.

A life-long member of the Ripley County Democratic Party, Mr. Baker served on the Ripley County Council and two terms on the Milan School Board where he was president. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Ripley County Community Foundation. He spent many hours educating various groups in Ripley County on setting up funds that would leave a lasting endowment for generations to come within the foundation. Mr. Baker was also a member of the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce, Milan Beautification Committee, Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Milan Lamplite Villa Board and the Milan VFW and American Legion.

Mr. Baker was a member of the Milan United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir and was the Finance Director.

Mr. Baker began a career in the automotive industry right out of high school at Chris Volz Motors in Milan. He became a Pontiac Master Sales Guild and won many awards during his 42-year career there. In 1989 he and son, Michael, purchased the dealership selling all six GM lines in Milan. They sold the business in 1993 and formed Baker Motor Company better known as “Friends you know in the car business.” Mr. Baker, Michael and Stephanie Baker and Mike Alloway ran this multiple-location used car business until November, 2004.

Mr. Baker was born in Versailles on January 17, 1929, the son of Frank and Hibernia (Akers) Baker, both deceased. He married Marie Louise Shade on March 3, 1957 and she preceded him in death in 1994.

Survivors include three sons, Danny and wife Melissa, Michael and wife Stephanie and Richard all of Milan; grandchildren Zachary, Joshua and Patrick Baker and Kyla Cook.

Funeral services were held Sunday, March 25 at the Milan United Methodist Church and he was laid to rest in Cliff Hill Cemetery in Versailles.

Memorials can be made to the Milan Lions Club or the Daren Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund. Laws-Carr-Moore Funeral Home, Milan, was in charge of the arrangements.