Editor’s Note: The News is sad to report that Agnes Baker passed away on December 1. I met Agnes during my early years at The News of Kings Point, and got to know her better swapping stories around the table in planning meetings for The News of Sun City Center. Agnes was an absolute delight — kind, helpful, enthusiastic and a wonderful tale spinner. As a reporter and feature writer, Agnes was always professional, courteous and perceptive. Her stories were rich, insightful and full of life. You walked away feeling as if you knew the person, knew them well, and liked them. This was the sort of person Agnes was. Warm, witty, hospitable and unfailingly genuine. She will be deeply missed, both at our editorial table and in our community. I am immensely grateful for her contribution to this publication. (E. Adam Porter)
The following story, written by Staff Reporter Ilona Merritt and published in the November 2016 issue of The News of Sun City Center, shares a bit more about Agnes. Enjoy…
When I joined The News of Sun City Center, the first person that I encountered was Agnes Baker. In her own gracious way, she welcomed me as she had done for so many others.
Agnes, a true Floridian, was born in Plant City, schooled in Tampa and went to work at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, where she worked for 34 years. She married Calvin Baker who had a cattle ranch in Fort Lonesome. They lived there until their retirement when they moved to Lithia.
Without a doubt Agnes had a most interesting and varied job. The Anheuser-Busch company sponsored a tremendous amount of outside activities for the hourly employees, and whatever the function, or where ever the activity took place in the United States, Agnes was there to see that every “i was dotted’ and every “t was crossed”. It was her job to make sure that everyone was well cared for. She was responsible for an extensive monthly newsletter. She oversaw the many sports programs, whether here or out of town. She escorted a master diver to various destinations and, when August Busch III was in town, Agnes was there to make sure everything was perfect.
For Gasparilla, the Anheuser-Busch Company sent their yacht to Tampa so Agnes could entertain guests in grand style. She was on the Board of the Miss Florida pageant and made sure the Anheuser-Busch parade float was built to truly represent the company. It was an exhausting job and certainly never dull. After a full day of activities she would go home to Fort Lonesome and help with the ranch chores. She belonged to the Executive Women’s Association and the American Business Women where she was chosen as “Business Woman of the year”.
After such an illustrious career one would understand that when she retired she would not be looking for more work. Calvin passed away in 2010 and Agnes decided the best thing to do was to move to Sun City Center. She had lots of friends here and she knew that there would be something for her to do. She moved into the Courtyards. She met John Bowker, who quickly talked her into joining The News of Sun City Center. She enjoyed the opportunity to meet wonderful new people and she created the “Meet your Neighbor” column. She also wrote stories about her cat, Hobo, which were well received by our readers.
After many outstanding years of faithful service and stellar work, Agnes has decided to step back from her efforts with The News. She has left with an example for all of us: a hard worker with a kind heart, a wonderful storyteller and a true friend!