Mary Susan Alder Baker, age 87, died peacefully on January 16, 2023 in her Dryden, NY home.
Susan was born November 21, 1935, in Binghamton, NY, the only child of Winslow F. and Virginia Alder. Soon after, she moved with her parents to Wilmington, Delaware. Then, when she was ten, they moved again, this time to Ithaca, NY, where her father, who worked for the Boy Scouts of America, had just been named Executive of the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Council.
Under the tutelage of her father, Susan developed if not a fondness, then at least a tolerance for the outdoors. Together, she and he climbed a number of New York’s forty-six high peaks.
Susan attended Ithaca High School, then Cornell University. At Cornell she studied to be a physician’s assistant and performed on stage in campus productions of musicals such as Finian’s Rainbow—the words to which she still remembered late in life, when other, more recent memories had faded.
The summer after her sophomore year Susan married the love of her life, Robert M. Baker, Jr., a Dryden native and recent Cornell grad. They lived in Cayuga Heights until after her graduation, then in 1957 moved to Dryden. Before long they opened a business in Ithaca, Bob Baker’s Kitchens. They commuted back and forth each day while raising a family of four children and assorted dogs and cats.
At work, from her desk guarded by the family’s ferocious poodle, Bart, she kept the books and used her flair for color and interior design to add to Bob’s kitchen designs.
The Bakers sold their business in 1980 and moved to western New Jersey, where Bob worked for the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers and Susan took a job in the chaplain’s office at a Hackettstown hospital, providing patient and public relations.
Susan’s talent for working with patients and the public would express itself again in other jobs she took when she and Bob moved away from New Jersey, first to Rochester, NY, and then to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she was marketing director for El Castillo, an independent living facility.
Eventually, Susan and Bob retired in Sequim, Washington, near the Puget Sound, living in a house bordered by lavender and llama farms and surveilled from above by soaring eagles.Then, in 2015, Susan and Bob moved back to Dryden to be closer to family. They lived around the corner from son Bruce and daughter-in-law Jennifer, at whose house they spent many hours at poolside, watching their grandchildren and great-children frolic in the water.
Susan is survived by her husband Bob, their children Doug (Kary Moss), Marcy (Bob Bari), David (Megan McCamy), and Bruce (Jennifer), their seven grandchildren, Jessa Baker- Moss; Justin, Matt, and Joe Baker; Mallory Coates, and Katie Carranti, and their six great-grandchildren, Emma, Wyatt, Emmylou, Winnie, Damon, and Declan.
Susan was known for her quick wit and her love of fashion and conversation. She loved and was loved. She is missed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Susan’s name to the Southworth Library in
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