FREEPORT -- Lewis Edwin Baker, 95, of Coshocton, formerly of Freeport, died at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Windsorwood Place, Coshocton.
Born in Dennison on July 20, 1920, he was a son of the late Edwin Lewis Baker and Bessie Belle Spring Baker.
He was a 1939 graduate of Jewett High School, where he was president of his Senior Class and participated in basketball and soccer.
Ed was a World War II Army Air Force veteran. He entered the service Sept. 26, 1942, and was a member of the 8th Air Force, 388th Bomb Group. He was taken prisoner in France on Sept. 7, 1943. He was in prison camp in Krems, Austria Stalag 17B and held until May 1945. His total POW time was twenty months. He was forced to march through Austria three weeks at the end of the war and was discharged October 28, 1945. He was awarded the Air Medal; Purple Heart; European World War II Victory; Presidential Unit Citation; and the POW Medal. He was a charter member of the Stillwater Valley Post 6815 Veterans of Foreign War being the first commander in 1946 and was a member of the Ex-POWs Stalag XVII Association of Wooster. Ed was an advocate for countless POWs and widows. He was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, 2009. He served on the Honor Guard for over 300 veterans' funerals.
He purchased a grocery store in Freeport in 1946, converted it to a self-serve grocery business in the 1950s and retired from Baker's AG in Freeport in 1985 with stores in Freeport, Scio and Newcomerstown.
He was a 15-year board member and former president of Associated Grocers in Uhrichsville; was a member of the East Central Ohio Food Dealers in Canton where he was president for one year; a board member of the Freeport State Bank and the Steubenville Heritage Bank, a school board member for ten years, a Past President and member of the Lakeland Area Booster Club, and a member and Past President of the Lakeland Lions Club.
Lewis attended Coshocton Grace United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Freeport Presbyterian Church where he previously had served as an elder and trustee; was a 60 year plus member of the Freeport Lodge 415 F&AM and a 32 Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite of Cambridge.
Ed enjoyed his family and was an avid golfer for forty years until his health declined then he became a "killer" Bridge player until his eye sight declined.
Surviving is his wife: Mary Leah Ferrell Baker. They were married Oct. 15, 1947. Also surviving are two sons and daughter-in-laws, Richard L. (Dick) and Jeanne Baker of New Philadelphia and Gary E. and Teresa "Terrie" Baker of Coshocton; a granddaughter, Heather (Clay) Utley of Seattle, Wash.; a grandson, Sean (Rachael) Baker of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and four great-grandchildren, Max, Tucker, Griffin, and Ari.
He was preceded in death by two brothers and three sisters, Adair (Nick) Baker, Jess Virgil Baker, Lucille Clantz, Bertha Hoovan, and Vera Caswell.
Visitation took place at the Miller Funeral Home in Coshocton on Sept. 10, 2015, with a Veteran's Salute and veterans stood guard by the casket during visitation.
Masonic rites were Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, at the Koch Funeral Home in Freeport.
Services were Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in the Freeport Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Teresa Baker and Pastor Jim McConnell officiated the services.
The Coshocton and Newcomerstown Veterans of Foreign Wars conducted military rites at Greenmont Union Cemetery, Freeport, with burial following.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Freeport Presbyterian Church.
Online condolences may be made on the funeral home's website, www.kochfuneralhome.net.