The Honourable Judge William John Adams Baker (retired)
It is with great sadness that the family of William Baker (Bill) announce his passing at age 78 on February 23, 2020 at Saint Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s after a brief illness. Bill was surrounded by his loving family until the end.
Bill was predeceased by his parents Frank and Vera Baker of Botwood. Leaving to mourn with sad hearts but cherished memories are his wife of 55 years and the love of his life, Pamela Faulkner Baker, his devoted daughters, Lisa Baker (Martin LeDrew) and Lori Baker, the joys of his life and beloved grandchildren, Fiona Landells, Elizabeth Landells and Frankie Leigh. Bill also leaves to mourn his brothers, Gerald Baker and Bruce Baker, his sisters, Audrey Rowsell and Lynne Reid, his brothers-in-law, Lindahl Faulkner and Ian Faulkner, sister-in-law, Svea Faulkner, along with their spouses, children and grandchildren. Bill also leaves behind his granddaughters’ father, Dr. Ian Landells, his grandson’s father, Mike Leigh, and his dear friend and surrogate son, Andrew Winsor. Bill was a quiet, gentle man with a kindness and generosity of spirit that endeared him to so many, especially all those, young and not so young, who will forever remember Bill as “Poppy Baker”. Bill leaves behind a wide circle of extended family, close friends and colleagues.
Bill was born in and grew up in Botwood. After graduation from the United Church Academy in 1958, Bill was accepted for the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. Deciding the military life was not for him, Bill returned to Newfoundland and had a career in finance and the municipal civil service during his twenties.
At the age of 31, Bill decided to pursue a long held dream of being a lawyer. With a young family in tow, he went back to university and completed an undergraduate and law degree in six years, graduating from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario in 1979. He articled with the Department of Justice and was called to the Bar in December 1979. Bill’s principal was, the now retired Honourable Madam Justice Mary Noonan of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. With her encouragement, along with that of then Chief Judge Cyril Goodyear and Judge Joe Woodrow of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland, Bill applied for and was appointed a Judge of the Provincial Court in 1980. Bill enjoyed a respected career as a senior criminal trial judge until his retirement in 2006. He served in Corner Brook, Grand Bank, Holyrood and St. John’s along with regular circuit courts all over Newfoundland and Labrador. He served as President of the Newfoundland Provincial Court Judges Association during his tenure on the bench. Bill’s calm, reasoned and thoughtful approach to the law and the dispensation of justice, along with his sense of humour, earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow judges and the counsel and court staff with whom he worked on a daily basis.
Bill’s life revolved around his family. He was a devoted husband and father who rejoiced in the happiness and successes of his wife, children and grandchildren. Their accomplishments were his greatest joy.
Our family is so grateful for the wonderful care that Bill received at the Intensive Care Unit at St. Clare’s. We wish to thank Dr. Frank Noel and the entire nursing staff for their kind and empathetic care during Bill’s brief stay. We also wish to particularly thank Bill’s special niece, Karla Faulkner, R.N., Ian Landells and Andrew Winsor for sitting with us through the last few nights and offering all their love and support for a man they all loved as much as we did and always will.
Bill was an avid fisherman since childhood. He was never more content and at peace than when he was out in his canoe, on some pond or other, quietly fishing by himself. Those of us who were lucky enough to have loved and been loved by Bill hope that our beloved Poppy Baker is now casting his fly in heaven, whether it is from his canoe on a favourite pond or from the shores of a special brook.
At Bill’s request, cremation has taken place. Visitation is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, February 27th and 28th, at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, St. John’s. A celebration of Bill’s life will take place at the Carnell Memorial Chapel on Saturday, February 29 at 2 p.m. Donations in his memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. To send a message of condolence please visit www.carnells.com.
“Each angel was a fisherman
Who had traded his pole
For golden wings and a game plan
At Heaven’s Fishing Hole”
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
View on Map
The Carnell Memorial Chapel
329 Freshwater Road
View on Map