The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 8, 2013

90-year-old Oklahoman serves state for decades


Associated Press

FAY, Okla. — Take a look at Snip Baker's 90-year-old hands.

And then think for a minute about how many people those hands have helped.

It will take a lot longer than minute.

They've served Baker's family, his country, his community of Fay and neighbors throughout Dewey County.

Baker's hands remain active helping others, son-in-law Mike Mahoney told The Oklahoman.

"Whether it is helping someone understand oil and gas leases, remembering deceased veterans who served our country, or serving weekly meals to the senior citizens, Snip is there to lend a helping hand," Mahoney said. "He and Penny still attend mineral owners' meetings, join travel groups to Branson, and love to entertain family and guests in their home."

Baker's projects of passion almost always are focused on others.

An example is his project for the Veterans Memorial at the Fay Community Center. He built cases to house the American flags of deceased veterans.

"It was his way of lifting those individuals up, honoring them," daughter Lanee Mahoney said.

*****

Baker grew up in a family that made its living by farming, sawing lumber, making molasses, grinding grain and custom threshing.

"Being from a large family, Dad learned to work hard and take pride in all he did," daughter Janice Stinson said.

In addition to work, education was important. Baker attended the one-room Bell School through eighth grade and then went to Oakwood High School. He graduated in 1941. Then it was on to a job with the Santa Fe Railroad before attending welding school at Weatherford.

"World War II was upon us, so Dad enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May of 1944," Stinson said.

The previous year, Baker had met Penny Pennington of Reydon. They were married May 11, 1944.

"He left for service with the CASU 28 North Atlantic Air Arm," Stinson said. "After two years of service, he received an honorable discharge in March of 1946.

Baker returned to farming, and he and Penny began a family that would include four daughters.

*****

In 1953, Baker became a rural mail carrier out of the U.S. Post office at Fay. When he started, his route was 33 miles. By the time Baker retired in 1981, the route had expanded to 146 miles.

He remembers many unusual occurrences along that route.

Not only did he deliver mail, he occasionally had to determine its recipient.

"One letter came addressed to 'The Old Battle Ax on the Hill,'" Baker said. "It was delivered."

Occasionally an illegal activity caught Baker's attention — the bootlegger waiting for his load or cattle rustlers stuck in the mud.

After retiring from the mail route, Baker returned to farming and ranching.

He remained busy serving on several boards, including Farm Bureau, Mount Hope Cemetery and more than 20 years with the Oklahoma Mineral Owners Association. He is a member of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

Baker volunteers at the Fay Community Center and at community organizations. And he puts out flags on veterans' graves at Mount Hope Cemetery on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Two years ago, Baker was inducted into the Dewey County Hall of Fame.

"He has been an inspiration to us all," Mike Mahoney said.