May 15, 1952-Nov. 10, 2011
CHICAGO, Illinois -- Rodney L Baker, age 59, died at Season's Hospice in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 10, 2011.
He was born May 15, 1952, to Harold and Margaret (Taul) Baker in McCook, Nebraska. Rod lived on the Baker homestead outside of Stratton, Nebraska and was active in 4-H, once winning a purple ribbon for his angel food cake. Graduating from Stratton High School in 1970, he then attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he received a degree in architecture.
In 1974, immediately after graduation, he traveled on his own to Paris, Rome and Egypt and then stayed with the parents of college friends in Iran and Lebanon. Upon returning home, he worked for Stetson Building Supply in Des Moines, Iowa in estimating and sales until 1980, when he moved to Chicago to join his partner James Krueger. He worked as a waiter in several places finally getting a job as a waiter and later a captain at The Dining Room in the Ritz Carleton Hotel, a four-star restaurant. For 25 years he was proud to provide service to local and international patrons such as Oprah, Milton Berle, Bob Newhart, Betty White, The Rolling Stones, and Mayor Richard M. Daley. He was employee of the month on numerous occasions and picked up many cooking tips from Chef Sarah Stegner.
He loved to cook and was well known for his own recipe for lasagna. Rod had a passion for gardening. He inherited his Grandmother Baker's green thumb and created a beautiful garden in Chicago. He also loved to travel and though illness in the last 20 years of his life kept him returning to more local venues such as Hawaii or Florida before that he traveled to Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rico, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Viet Nam, Laos, Hong Kong and Singapore.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Margaret and an infant brother James Dale Baker.
Survivors include his partner of 33 years, Jim Krueger of Chicago, Illinois, and his brothers, Joe Baker and wife, Sharlene of Brighton, Colorado and Gene Baker and his wife, Barbara of McCook, Nebraska. He leaves behind numerous loving nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
A remembrance will be held in Chicago on May 12, 2012, in the garden at his Chicago apartment and a memorial service on May 26, 2012, will be held at 11 a.m., at the Baker homestead outside Stratton, Nebraska. There his ashes will be returned to the homestead he loved.