| Champ Leroy Baker, Sr.
(Civic and political figure
|Born|| March 9, 1919 |
Boyce, Rapides Parish
|Died|| December 23, 1985 (aged 66) |
|Spouse|| Astrid Hile Baker|
Champ Leroy Baker, Sr. (March 9, 1919 – December 23, 1985), was a civic and political figure from Alexandria, Louisiana.
One of eight children of Richard Baker (1876-1936), a painter originally from Holland, Michigan, and the former Maud LaDell Johnson (1884-1981), Baker was, like his mother, born in the small town of Boyce in northern Rapides Parish. His first name "Champ" was derived from that of his maternal grandfather, Champion Pennington Johnson (1849-1896), a native of Harmony, North Carolina, whom Baker never knew.
Baker attended Bolton High School in Alexandria. In 1940, he enlisted for military service and became a captain in the United States Army during World War II. He met his wife, the former Astrid Hile (December 17, 1920 – August 18, 2010), a native of Tallinn, the capital and largest city of the Baltic Sea state of Estonia. Mrs. Baker was the younger of two of Gustave Hile, originally Hiielje (1888-1954) and the former Pauline Elisabeth Lindstrom, originally Linzmann (1894-1972) She was an Army nurse for the Fourth Service Command at Finney General Hospital in Thomasville in southern Georgia.
Upon his return to civilian life, Baker became a steadfast advocate for veterans' causes. For thirty years, Mrs. Baker was a caseworker for the Louisiana state government. The Bakers had three children, Susanne Carol Nall (born July 21, 1944) and husband Malcolm Howell Nall (born November 4, 1948) of Woodworth, south of Alexandria; Dr. Champ Baker, Jr. (born August 3, 1946), an orthopedic and sports medical doctor in Columbus, Georgia, who is married to the former Sue Anne Owens (born December 30, 1945), and Russell King Baker (born February 19, 1949), and spouse, the former Kathryn "Kathie" Pearce (born June 22, 1959), of Lorena in McLennan County, south of Waco, Texas. One of their ten grandchildren, Dr. Champ (Lee) Baker, III (born January 21, 1976), is a sports doctor affiliated with the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Georgia..
Baker was the long-term director of the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning & Development District at 3514 Parliament Drive in Alexandria, a quasi-government multi-purpose body which among other functions prepares land-use guidelines and distributes law enforcement grants for eight Central Louisiana parishes. One of the Kisatchie board members, Brian Duke, was a Rapides Parish police juror and former jury president.
In 1977, Baker, a Democrat, ran for mayor of Alexandria in the first election under the mayor-council charter, which replaced the former commission city government. Baker finished third with 2,082 votes, but outgoing Mayor John K. Snyder ran second and hence entered a runoff contest with Carroll Lanier, who from 1969 to 1973 had been the finance and utilities commissioner under the previous government. In this same election cycle, W. A. "Dub" Carruth, a prominent house and apartment developer, won an at-large seat on the new Alexandria City Council. A native of Ashley County, Arkansas, Lanier defeated Snyder, 68-32 percent. Five years later, Snyder turned the tables on Lanier to gain a second non-consecutive term as mayor in 1982. Then in 1986, Snyder was unseated by long-term mayor Ned Randolph. In addition to Baker, other losing candidates in the 1977 race were real estate businessman Charles Elbert "Charlie" Hickman (1933-2012); Democrat Judith Ward-Steinman Karst (1941-2020), the daughter of Alexandria attorney and radio station owner Irving Ward-Steinman, later Judith Karst Campbell of rural Hiawassee in Towns County in far northeastern Georgia, thereafter in North Carolina. Judy Karst was then married to former Mayor Charles Edward Karst; the two remaining candidates were outgoing Fina,December 5, 2012.</ref>
Baker subsequently joined the second Snyder administration as the utilities director, in which capacity he had warned that the city needed greater sources of energy to power the municipal-owned electric power system. Baker said that he remains "skittish" in regard to the "unreliable" Rodemacher No. 2 coal-fired plant near his native Boyce owned by the Pineville-based Central Louisiana Electric Company. Snyder announced that the city would by March 1984 have a suitable three-year contract with a company in Colorado. When a CLECO spokesman claimed that Baker was "blatantly inaccurate and totally inappropriate" about the Rodemacher plant, Baker replied that he was "blatantly accurate and totally appropriate." While he downplayed getting into a shouting match with CLECO, Baker said, "The corporate power squalls when its skin is pricked. … I have been reticent to discuss details of my negotiation for gas supplies for the city of Alexandria as it would have caused me to divulge the confidences of several suppliers."
Baker died of a stroke at the age of sixty-six at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria. He and his wife are interred at Alexandria Memorial Gardens.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Capt. Champion Lee "Champ" Baker, Sr.. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 9, 2020.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Astrid Hile Baker. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
- ↑ Dr. Champ Baker, Jr. - Healthgrades. Healthgrades.com. Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
- ↑ "New Federal Aid Explained to Law Enforcement Heads". Alexandria Town Talk (January 30, 1969). Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
- ↑ W. A. "Dub" Carruth obituary. The Alexandria Town Talk (July 13, 2018). Retrieved on July 14, 2018.
- ↑ Judith Karst Campbell. Mylife.com. Retrieved on July 30, 2018.
- ↑ Jim Liggett (January 13, 1984). "Snyder: Cheaper Gas on the Way". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on July 14, 2018.