Courtesy of The Baker Family
The world came to know a beautiful, bouncing baby boy by the name of Wendell Carl Baker on February 14, 1946 in Bay City, Texas. Born to proud and devoted parents, Jerdie Mae Holland Baker and Milton Garland Baker, Wendell was reared in Littig, Texas, where he obtained all his formal schooling in the local public school district through graduation.
Throughout his younger years, Wendell was keenly interested in animals and nature, and he engaged in schoolwork with great ease. His intellectual curiosity enhanced his natural academic talents in science and mathematics, both which he excelled and expressed an interest in pursuing professionally after school. Wendell set his sights on higher education, following in his father’s footsteps by matriculating at his beloved Prairie View A & M University, where he studied Animal Science. Upon earning his bachelor’s degree, he continued toward his most auspicious life goal of becoming a veterinarian. Wendell entered the renowned Tuskegee Institute’s College of Veterinary Medicine, then and currently the nation’s only veterinarian medical school that resides at a Historically Black College or University. Dr. Wendell Carl Baker, Sr. successfully earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1972.
Dr. Baker honorably served our country by devoting the next four years of his career to the United States Army, where he worked as an Army veterinarian. Most of all, Dr. Baker gained tremendous joy from educating the next generation of agriculturists, animal scientists, and future veterinarians. He returned to his Alma Mater, Prairie View A & M, and taught agricultural science from 1976 through 1984. He also served as the University Farm Manager. Over these eight years, Dr. Baker had the distinct privilege of working under the leadership and guidance of the legendary veterinarian, Dr. Alfred N. Poindexter, who instilled in him great confidence through hands-on experience while also demonstrating the spirit of giving back to the generations that follow.
The university classrooms and laboratories kept Dr. Baker intricately connected to his craft, which eased his transition o launching a private practice. In 1978, he opened the Baker Veterinary Clinic in Prairie View, where he treated all types of animals, large and small, in addition to establishing a specialty in equine and acupuncture and dentistry. Additionally, Dr. Baker was a pioneer in the field of white-tail deer DNA testing. Most notably, Dr. baker continued his commitment to growing and developing new and future veterinarians by intentionally hiring recent graduates and or interns from Prairie View A & M, as well as the Tuskegee Vet School. To his credit, hundreds of veterinarians, mostly African Americans, were trained under Dr. Baker’s tutelage and achieved their dreams through his nurturing guidance.
Those who knew Dr. Baker well, know that he never declined a challenging case on a sick or injured animal. He was highly motivated by tough cases that were brought to him in the middle of the night or those that were so dire that a house call was required for treatment. Many of his clients boast about the special touch and great skill he applied to their animal when they were in the worst health or in a heightened emergency situation.
Outside the clinic, Wendell explored may interests and hobbies. He was a true outdoorsman and rarely missed an opportunity to enjoy the activities that afforded him immense satisfaction ad relaxation, including horseback riding, hunting, bay fishing, gun-shooting and target practice, and designing leather goods. Most of all, the time he spent with his family and closes friends was most cherished. He especially enjoyed watching classic western movies and attending rodeos with his grandsons.
Wendell is preceded in death by his mother, Jerdie Mae Holland Baker; his father, Milton Baker; sister, Mable Ann; and son Wendell Baker, Jr.
He leaves to cherish his memory and continue his legacy a devoted wife, Annette Baker, step daughters, Maya Rutledge (Jason) and Arianne Gafford-Jackson; step-son, Kevin Murrell; grandchildren, Ashton Baker, Jaylon Lindsey, Javar Tompkins, Jamari Idlebird, and Keveon Murrell; brothers Milton Baker, Jr. of Elgin, Texas (Teresa), Shifton Baker of Spring, Texas (Arlena), Jeffery Baker of Elgin, Texas, and Steven Green of Austin, Texas; his loving sisters, Jerdie Garland Horn (Bill), and Rosa Reese (Lewis); special nieces, Sharlonda Rutledge and Taneshia Whorton; close friends, Bud Rhumes, Eric Ceree, George High, Sam Parker, and Jim Lawson; fellow members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and a host of other extended family and friends.