Dr. James F. Baker, aged 90, formerly of Hinsdale, IL passed away peacefully on October 16, 2021. Jim was born in Covington, Kentucky on August 19, 1931.
Loving father to Kristin (Thomas) Kotsakis, Allison (Michael) Genovese and Michael Baker whom he loved immensely. Dear Grandfather of Alexis, Connor, and Callie whom he treasured. Special Uncle to many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews. He is survived by his former wife Marie (Buban) Baker. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Lucille Baker, sister Mary (Dr. Robert Cesafsky) and brothers Kenneth (Alice) and Robert.
Jim enlisted in the Army and graduated from Infantry School in 1951. He was certified as a Parachutist and Jumpmaster. He served in the Korean War as a First Lieutenant in the Third Infantry division’s 15th regiment. While serving as a Platoon Leader under hostile fire in the famous Outpost Harry battle, he led his men into trenches, set up a defense and administered aid to the wounded. He refused to leave his outpost until he was assured it was safe from further attack. For his leadership and bravery, he was awarded The Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star in Korea. For additional acts of heroism, he also received the Bronze Star Medal and the Greek War Cross.
After the war, Jim focused on his education and received both his B.S. and M.A. from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Secondary School Administration from the University of Iowa. He later earned an additional M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Benedictine University.
His degrees led to a remarkable life with a variety of careers. Jim taught English and Journalism at Argo Community High School and then became Superintendent of Argo Community School District 217. Next, he was a Professor of Education and Psychology for almost 40 years at Benedictine University. He was especially proud of the student teachers he helped place in local schools. While teaching, Jim started his own company, CES, Inc., authored several publications and even owned a bookstore. Toward the end of his career, Jim was a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, focusing on marriage and family therapy.
He loved all forms of the fine arts, especially opera, literature and visits to the Art Institute. He taught his family to love nature, especially birds, flowers and butterflies. He enjoyed walks with his dogs, but most of all enjoyed fishing and boating with family at his lake house in Green Lake, WI.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, October 24th from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Adolf Funeral Home, 7000 S. Madison St., Willowbrook, IL 60527. A funeral mass will be held on Monday, October 25th at 10:00 am at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, 306 W. 4th St., Hinsdale, IL 60521. Burial will be private at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Adult Down Syndrome Center, 1610 Luther Lane, Park Ridge, IL 60068 or on their website https://advocategiving.org/adsc.
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