The Powderly community lost a “very committed, kind, generous volunteer firefighter,” “a humble man,” and a “legendary cowboy.”
Eddie Baker, described as all three, is said to have “the biggest heart.”
“He lived the cowboy way, and everything he did was caring,” said Baker’s granddaughter, Cory Martin. “He was gentle and kind, and he really would give you the shirt off his back. He loved everyone and wanted to be everyone’s’ friend. He is what held our family and kept us all together – a peacemaker and also the one who set everyone straight.”
Randi Johnson, with the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department, said Baker was always humble with “such a big heart.”
“Every time I saw him he would greet me with ‘whatcha say there, youngen?’” Johnson said. “He always asked how things were going in my life – no matter who you were he was interested in. He was generous, kind and a caring man who loved his friends and family.”
Roger Bussell, Powderly Volunteer Fire Chief, said Baker was giving, committed, kind and generous.
“The years he was with the fire department, he attended every event. He would work tirelessly, and even as his health declined, he would still show up, help cook chili and things like that,” Bussell said. “He would also respond to calls, even when he was walking on a cane. He’d show up and be there just in case anyone needed anything.”
Martin said one of her favorite memories with her grandpa include recent ones surrounding Baker and her 6-month-old daughter.
“She spent about every day with him they were the center of each other’s world,” Martin said. “He basically raised my brother and me, so it was amazing to see the bond he had with my daughter. But I have lots of memories from fishing to just sitting on the front porch watching the birds. He comforted me in my darkest times and he never turned his back on me for any mistakes I made.”
Martin said Baker taught her how to fish, treat others with kindness and “just love everyone.”
“He always pushed us to help each other and everyone as much as we can,” she said. “He taught me to always respect everyone – especially our elders. He taught me the values in life and that tomorrow will always be a better day.”
Johnson said Baker was exemplified as a humble and understanding individual.
“Sometimes in life, we let things get in the way and sometimes need to recollect ourselves. Eddie for me will be a reminder of the true meaning of life, love, family and friends,” she said.
Bussell, echoing Johnson, said Baker was there to help others.
“Eddie has always been the person if people needed anything or just someone to talk to. He was a big influencer out there,” Bussell said. “He was big in the Paris Rodeo and Horse Club, the Bible camp, you name it. Alongside his wife, Eddie was a giving person.”
Martin said she would want to thank her grandpa again, “for everything he’s done for me; to let him know that he was my idol, my legend.”
“I want him to know I’m thankful for everything he helped me with, and I would want him to know how much I cherished my time spent with him,” she said. “Most of all, I would want him to know how much he was loved and looked up to. He was the greatest person in Paris.”
“If you wanted to know a true Paris cowboy, it would be him. He was big in the community, a great neighbor and just a big-hearted man.”