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On Saturday, June 17, 2023, our dear, sweet, gentle, kind brother, Buddy, passed from this earthly life to his heavenly forever home with Jesus. He completed his earthly journey in the early hours on Saturday, a day after he was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health. He was a mere six months away from his 74th birthday. A house fire of unknown origins took his last breath of life.
William L. “Buddy” Baker, III entered this world on October 16, 1949 in Longview, TX. His young childhood years were in Longview, TX. He attended Foster Elementary and Jodie McClure Elementary schools. His later elementary years were enjoyed at Union Grove Schools where his father, Bill Baker, began his first, full-time pastorate at Union Grove Baptist Church. Following several years at Union Grove, Buddy and his Baker family moved to Kilgore, TX for four years where his father pastored Eastview Baptist Church. Buddy’s childhood was happily played out with his siblings, cousins and numerous neighborhood friends. Many hours gallivanting in the woods, riding a homemade go cart, playing little league baseball, shooting his BB gun, running back and forth through a water sprinkler, swimming and attending church activities filled his younger life. While living in Kilgore, TX, Buddy discovered his love for piano. Fortunately his precious piano teacher, Mrs Brinkley, took him under her wing and gave him a great foundation for playing the piano. At the end of his eighth grade year the family moved to LaPorte, TX where his dad pastored Bayshore Baptist Church. Buddy graduated from LaPorte High School in 1968. While in LaPorte, he remained active playing the piano and singing along with his brother Randy in a church youth group. He attended East Texas Baptist University for his first year of college. When Buddy’s parents moved to First Baptist Church, McAllen, TX after his first year of college, he enthusiastically joined them. In the Texas valley, Buddy continued his passion for piano at Pan American University. With a double major in music education and classical piano performance, he graduated with a BA in Music, Concert Piano and a certification to teach All-Level Music PK -12. When Buddy’s mother and father returned to their first home base in East TX to pastor First Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church, Overton, TX, it was only natural for him to accompany them to where his life began. After a short tenure teaching public school elementary music and playing piano for churches and organizations, Buddy determined playing the piano was his first love. Consequently, he played piano for many churches in the East TX area. He will always be remembered for his beautiful piano runs and fills that lit up a room. His offertories were beautiful and inspiring. Playing the piano often did not generate enough income for an independent piano artist so Buddy chose to work at various drive-in grocery stores where he worked shift work because it was more “interesting” and gave him more time to pursue his first love of playing the piano. Giving piano lessons to aspiring piano students also gave him great joy and extra income. Buddy retired at age 65. His retirement years were spent gardening, cooking, fishing — oh how he lived to fish, riding his bicycle, painting and drawing landscapes and portraits, movies, shopping, and playing his beloved piano.
Buddy was preceded in death by his parents, William L. Baker, Jr and Melba Baker. Left to carry on his legacy are his sisters Jana (Dan) Rogers and LIsa (Robin) Butt and brother Randy (JoAnn) Baker. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and grand nieces and nephews.
Buddy blessed all his family and friends with his unique and distinctive embrace of life. He came to know the Lord at a young age when attending Mobberly Avenue Baptist Church. His faith sustained him throughout his life. Like all of us, he struggled but was victorious in the end. All of Buddy’s family are rejoicing that we know! we know! we know! our precious brother is in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Beyond all doubt we know! our mother and father and multitudes of family and friends greeted Buddy with open arms at the pearly gates of Heaven.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”
Cottle-Pearson Funeral Home
905 South Commerce
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Service: 11 am
Memorial donations may be made in honor of Buddy to Mobberly Avenue Baptist Church.