Avalon Care Centre

(519) 941-5161 - 355 Broadway Orangeville, Ontario

Donald Baker - Making A Difference Award 2014

Mr. Baker was unable to attend the awards banquet in September so our staff made a visit to see him at his new long term care home in Toronto.

Donald Baker was born and raised in Toronto in May of 1923. Like most boys, Don loved sports including hockey, cricket, tennis, badminton, soccer and football. He also loved baking and bread was his specialty. Donald was the youngest of five children and he always enjoyed singing. As a child, he was part of a piano duet. When living with us he was fond of singing to residents and staff at Avalon Care Centre. His father was in the leather business and his mother worked an Active Service Canteen with his sister.

At the age of 18 years, Donald joined the navy. He felt this was the safest thing to do. Both his mother and father also became a part of the war. He was given the role as Radar 3 but in 1944 Donald became a Quarter Master serving in World War II. He was part of the “Newfie Run” which ran from Halifax to London, than to Ireland and back to Halifax. The “Triangle Run” ran from New York, to Boston and back to Halifax. As a Quarter Master, his duties were to give his crew orders, inform of happenings, and blow the whistle. In general, he looked after the crew allowing them to return or leave the harbour. Donald was also in charge of dropping death charges. Fortunately he did not have any to report. He took a leave on reserve, once the Japanese had surrendered, staying on a frigate during peace time.

After the war, Don went to the University of Toronto where he met his soon to be wife Evalyn. On December 28, 1971 they wed and they remained happily married for 43 years. Throughout this time, they travelled along the coast to Florida visiting family. Other trips included Ohio, Pennsylvania and England. Evalyn was a painter. She enjoyed painting various pictures of the countryside. They later moved from Toronto to Oakville. Donald graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts and became an insurance agent for Reid Shaw and Magnott Insurance Company. Later he opened his own Insurance Company named Baker Insurance.

Throughout his life, Donald proceeded to help out amputee’s by making yearly donations to the Red Cross. His wife was a volunteer with the Red Cross Amputees and Salvation Army. Don would often join her in volunteer work.

Donald moved to Avalon Retirement Lodge in May 2010. He would visit his wife Evalyn daily at Avalon Care Centre. During his time at the lodge he was very active. He loved to sing and dance, always entertaining others to get a smile. In July 2014, Don transferred to Avalon Care Centre where he continued to bring out the best in others with his with his kind and friendly disposition.

Don feels his greatest life accomplishments has been “helping others as well as helping yourself”. Thank you Don, for all your hard work and dedication in helping others, the world needs more people like you and the staff and residents at the Avalon miss you! 

Lee Turley, Administrator, and Sherry Braic, Life Enrichment Coordinator joined Donald at his new home on April 21st and brought him a cake. Jarlette Health Services and Classic Care Pharmacy donated $100 on behalf of Donald to the War Amps for his role in Making A Difference In The Lives of Others.



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