Robert Ernest Baker, Jr. passed away on Friday, December 21, 2007, at John Sealy Hospital following a brief illness and surgery for a broken ankle. He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on October 17, 1916. A longtime resident of Galveston, Texas, he was the retired executive administrator of the Moody Foundation where he worked for the charitable organization into his early eighties.
Robert Ernest Baker, Jr.
J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home
He was predeceased by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ernest Baker, and sister, Mrs. Frank Thyfault.
He is survived by his wife, Billye Driskell, to whom he was married for sixty years, their son Brent Driskell Baker, their grandchildren Kelsey Broadhurst Baker and William Cassidy Baker, nephews Bruce, Larry, Gary and niece Jill Thyfault, cousins Mr. and Mrs. David McGiffert of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price of Amarillo, Texas.
He is graduate of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa where he received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1939. The following year, he joined the officer’s training program of the U.S. Navy. Along the way, he studied for and became a Certified Public Accountant and Financial Analyst.
From 1962 until the time of his retirement, Mr. Baker oversaw all activities of the Moody Foundation as its assets grew to exceed one billion dollars. During his tenure, the foundation helped found the Galveston College and awarded grants to groups including the Galveston Historical Foundation which led to the restoration and preservation of the Historic Strand District. He sat on numerous boards of directors including Moody National Bank, the Center for Transportation and Commerce and president of the Galveston Artillery Club. He served as Governor General of the Galvez Grenadiers and made three trips to Spain for an audience with King Juan Carlos.
His retirement years were active ones taking care of personal business, gym classes and lunch with his friends. He particularly enjoyed the “lunch bunch” at Casey’s every Monday. He was an avid tennis player during his college years and later enjoyed golf and he and Billye many golfing holidays with longtime friends, Anne and George Cullen of Lakeway, Texas.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 27, 2007 at J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Funeral services will be privately held.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be to the charity of one’s choice.