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Memorial for Celia Baker
Born in Natchez,
MS on May 9, 1913
Departed on Dec. 19, 2009 and resided in Vancouver, WA.
The rural world that Celia Baker was born
into was relatively speaking, a prosperous one. Her father was an extremely
resourceful, hardworking individual, and as Celia recalls, the work ethic was established
at an early age. \\\"In those days you started to work when you were very
young. You started to carry two sticks of wood as soon as you were big enough
to carry two sticks of wood. Kids didn\\\'t grumble either.\\\"
a young girl she encountered racial prejudice that was to follow her through
much of her life. She recalls staying up all night with the rest of her family
to keep cattle from eating her father\\\'s sugar cane crop. The cattle were driven
in by their white owners who cut the fences with the idea of gaining free
foraging for their stock.
the age of 11 Celia was confronted with an awesome responsibility. She replaced
her mother as head of the household, a home that included her father, two
younger sisters, and three brothers. There was no electricity, no running
water, for cooking, washing, mending, canning, and preserving. The grueling
round of chores limited her access to schooling which she enjoyed so much.
order to escape this rugged, rural existence Celia married while still in her
teens. She made a poor choice, a man who could not handle responsibility. After
obtaining a divorce, Celia made a commitment to give her daughter the
attention, affection, and education she had never received.
Although Celia worked all her life as an
unschooled black woman in factories, foundries, laundries, and hospitals for
the smallest of wages, she put her daughter through Seattle University.
Today, Rosa Lee is a teacher in high school and community college. Celia worked
hard to create open communication with her daughter. She realized that
understanding her daughter\\\'s point of view was critical to communicating
properly. Because Celia missed having a
mother of her own to teach her in her teen years, she wanted to give her
daughter \\\"all I knew.\\\" That meant making Rosa Lee feel she could
\\\"ask me anything and I\\\'ll find the answer.\\\"
wisdom Celia Baker passed on to her daughter has in turn been passed on to her
grandchildren. Her oldest granddaughter, was a homecoming queen, an honor
student, a college graduate, and now is a financial counselor. Her oldest
grandson has an M.B.A. and is a financial officer for Rainier Bank. Her
youngest grandson, Terry, was named Mr. U.S.A. Teen in 1981 and travels the
country speaking to youth groups and teaching them the values passed down from his
Sourcing; Washington State Death
Certificate – Straub’s Funeral Home & Death Certificate
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