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Funeral service for Dr. Fostenia W. Baker will be conducted 1 PM Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Meadow Prong Baptist Church, 6933 Meadow Prong Rd., Effingham. Interment will follow in the church cemetery directed by Smith Funeral Home of Florence, LLC.
Dr. Fostenia Willoughby Baker was born on July 4, 1941 to the late Maryland Leon Baker and Pecola Williams Baker in Effingham, South Carolina. She departed her earthly life on January 23, 2020. She was the oldest of 13 children.
During her union with Eugene Gadson, Dr. Baker had two daughters, the late Willa Regenea and Tonya Chevelle.
As His faithful servant, Dr. Baker’s life was centered around God and His word. Her desire was for her children and grandchildren to receive Christ as their personal savior so that they could all be together again one day. Dr. Baker was fond of the relationship that she had with Metropolitan AME Church of which she was a member for several years. Over the years, Dr. Baker developed and maintained strong relationships with many of her fellow church members.
Education was very important to Dr. Baker and as a role model for many, she wanted others to have the opportunity to have the best possible life through higher education, just as she had. All who were close to her would be impacted by her thoughts on the importance of education. To help others obtain their life goals through education, she often provided financial resources and her own expert knowledge. Dr. Baker was a life-long learner and did not believe that retirement would end her love for learning. She stayed informed of current events through reading and viewing local and world news and maintained daily conversations with those who were close to her.
Dr. Baker received a bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State University-Orangeburg, a master’s degree from City College of New York, a master’s degree from Howard University, and a doctoral degree from George Washington University. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. from 1972-2020. Dr. Baker’s professional appointments include New York City Public Schools (Health Education, ‘70-75); Voorhees College (Assistant Professor-Health Education and women’s basketball coach, ’75-78); University of South Carolina-Columbia (Research Fellow, 78-80); Allen University, (Assistant Professor, Education, ’81-82); Walterboro County Public Schools (Instructor, Science ’80-81); District of Columbia Department of Corrections (Instructor, ’84-85); Trinity College-DC (Assistant Professor, Health Education, ‘92-93); Howard University, (Assistant (Professor, Health Ed. ’85-93, Retired); District of Columbia Public Schools, (Diaspora, Science coordinator ‘94-95); District of Columbia Public schools, (Instructor, Science ’97-98); Prince Georges County Public Schools (Instructor, Science/Health Ed).
While attending George Washington University, Dr. Baker published her dissertation, A Study of Black Faculty Perceptions of Tenure Processes in Major White Universities, 1991. In 1994, she published her first book, Women’s Health: What Do You Know About It, McGraw Hill. Most recently, Dr. Baker had devoted much of her time to studying and collecting data surrounding the history of her great uncle, Frazier Baker, who would be memorialized through the renaming of a Lake City, South Carolina post office due in part to her efforts. Dr. Baker worked tirelessly to ensure that his legacy would not be lost. The outcome of these efforts includes exhibits in both the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC and the National Museum for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Baker was interviewed and featured as a cast member in An Outrage: A Documentary Film About Lynching in the American South, 2017. She is also the author of her second book, A Black Postmaster in a White Town, which will soon be released.
Those closest to her knew Dr. Baker to be somewhat tough on the exterior, but also knew her to be filled with the sweetest, softest heart. She loved everyone, especially her younger siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her family was her joy and she took great pride and pleasure sharing in the accomplishments and successes in their lives. Dr. Baker is survived by her daughter, Tonya Gadson; seven grandchildren, Tina McMillan, Phillip McMillan, Shanel Vinson, Gena McMillan, Lena McMillan, Jamie Gadson, and Bridgette Gadson; three great-grandchildren, Christian, Omarri, and Zoe; eleven brothers and sisters, Barbara (Melvin) Gibbs, Maryland (Linda) Baker, Claretha Johnson, Revella Baker, Belva (Edmond) Davis, Vangie (Roy) McCray, Elliott (Janice) Baker, Wandell (Henry) Burch, Alton (Veronica) Baker, Floyd Baker, Sophia Baker; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Omega Omega Service will be 6 PM Friday, February 7,2020 at J.O. & Anette Smith Memorial Chapel, 307 S. Johns St., Florence with family visitation following the services.
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