Paul A. Baker, 86, Rutland Center

WATERTOWN, NY —  Paul A. Baker, 86, Rutland Center, Watertown passed away Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at his home under the care of his loving wife, Leona and his family.

Paul was born Aug. 15, 1936, at his home on the Baker Farm in the town of Champion and was the second born child to parents Earl and Dora Lanphear Baker.

In his younger years, Paul worked at neighboring farms and in the woods, eventually purchasing a truck to haul canned milk from local farms to the Queens Plant in Copenhagen.

While continuing to operate his milk hauling business during the early mornings,  Paul started work at the Deer River Sawmill. In 1966, Paul with his business partner Bernard Brady purchased the mill from Frances and Myrtle Nichols. Paul and Bernard formed the Deer River Lumber Corporation, with Paul taking the helm as President.

In 1995, Paul purchased Brady’s interest in the business, and continued operation until his retirement in 2016 at the age of 80. In his 56 years, Paul never missed a day of work at the sawmill and led his employees by example; never asking someone to do a job that he was not willing to do himself.

Paul’s reputation in the community was that of fairness and honesty, relying on word of mouth based on positive customer and vendor relationships, so much so, he never had to place an ad to purchase standing timber as landowners would seek him out.

Family and friends will remember Paul to not only be extremely hardworking but having a quick-witted sense of humor, as well as always saying thank you, no matter how small the gesture.

In his later years, Paul purchased several different draft horse teams. Paul very much enjoyed and cherished the time he spent with his work horses in addition to being a member of the local draft horse club.

Paul is survived by his wife Leona, son Chris (Kerrie) Baker of Castorland,NY;  stepchildren, Jerry (Patty) Brown of Selbyville, DE, Rich Brown of Maryland, NY, Donna (Gerry) Hudson, Cicero, NY, Mary (Dave) Etz of Cortland, NY, Marlene Balerno of Hannawa Falls, NY, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his cousins, Homer and Mary Lamphear.

Paul was predeceased by his parents, sister Hazel, sons Bruce and Irwin as well as wives Marie and Nancy.

Calling hours will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Reed & Benoit Funeral Home, 632 State St., Watertown. The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday Aug. 22, at the Parkside Bible Church, Eastern Blvd., Watertown. Burial will follow the service in the Hillside Cemetery, Champion. Following the burial there will be a gathering at the Copenhagen Fire Hall.

The family would like to give a special thanks to  Caregivers and Hospice of Jefferson County.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hospice of Jefferson Co., 1398 Gotham St., Watertown, NY 13601 or Parkside Bible Church, 491 Eastern Blvd., Watertown, NY 13601.

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