BLOUNTSTOWN, FL -- Virginia Stephens Baker PhD, age 66, of Blountstown, FL unexpectedly left us to join her Heavenly Father on Monday, January 16, 2023.
The second of five girls, she learned a strong work ethic as their father died while they were young. Upon maturity, she attended Wake Forest for undergrad, where she met her future husband, Murray. As an avid humanitarian, she joined the Peace Corps after graduating from Wake Forest. She spent 2 years in Thailand serving to contain a Malaria epidemic and perform Malaria research. Upon return to the US, she continued Malaria research at the University of Hawaii. Murray and Virginia had maintained connections, and he asked her to marry her, so she returned to the US mainland, and they married. They had four children, during which time, she obtained her Masters in Immunology at University of South Florida and tirelessly homeschooled the children. Afterwards, she pursued her PhD at Florida State University in Molecular Biology. She served as a professor and researcher at FSU as well as Chipola College. Ever eager to return to Malaria research, she pioneered a partnership with Chipola College and FSU to collaborate in ongoing Malaria studies. After her teaching and research career, she started community outreach programs to help the Florida Panhandle establish easy access to education and management of patients with Diabetes, Obesity and Hypertension.
Virginia was best known by friends and family as enthusiastic, optimistic, and always ready for the next challenge. A beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, she saw the potential in everyone and everything--inspiring those around her to pursue their endeavors.
A beloved daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, she is survived by her husband, Murray Lester Baker MD, her sons, Murray Baker MD (Heidi Baker, daughters Charleston and Savannah Baker), John Francis Stephens Baker (Nekole Baker and soon to be son John Marcus) and daughters, Kristen Baker Nava MD (Jonathan Nava MD and their children, Jonathan and Emma Nava) and Virginia Noel Baker RN of Blountstown, FL; her sisters, Marilyn Edwards (Marshall Edwards and children Blake, Elisabeth and Michael Edwards) and Louise Cain (Bob Cain and children Christopher and Katherine Cain).
The family will receive friends Friday evening, January 20, 2023 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the McFarland Funeral Chapel.
A funeral service will be held in her honor at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon, North Carolina with Reverend Robert Ard officiating.
Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens, Columbus, North Carolina.