James Robert “Jim” Baker, 97, of Indianapolis, Indiana passed away on October 13, 2023. He was born on January 31, 1926, in South Bend, Indiana to the late Carl William and Reva (Fox) Baker.
Jim graduated from Kokomo High School in 1944 and was given the most Outstanding Senior Boy Award and was on the All-State Football team. Before he graduated, he joined the Navy Air Corps. The Navy sent him to Purdue University where he was enrolled in the V5 program. Jim was on the Varsity football team and was scheduled to be the starting right half-back his sophomore year, but chose to go to pre-flight school. After serving two years in the Navy, Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He married his best friend and high school sweetheart, Kitty Morrison, on February 11, 1950. They were married 72 years.
Jim was a respected representative for Northwestern Mutual Network for 60 years. He was a CLU, ChFC and was a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table. Jim gave his time and expertise as he volunteered for various organizations in Indianapolis. He was president of the Association of Life Underwriters, president of the Indianapolis CLU chapter and president of the Northside Lions Club. Jim served on the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra pension committee for 24 years and was chairman for 5 years. He also served on the board of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 6 years. Jim was a member of Meridian Street United Methodist Church for 69 years and was past chairman of the Board of Trustees and served as an usher for 17 years. He enjoyed being a member of the Columbia Club for 50 years. Jim was a member of the Indiana University Alumni Association, I.U. Varsity Club, the I.U. Foundation, the 1820 Society, the President’s Circle and the Well House Society and was a loyal and enthusiastic lifetime sports fan and supporter. He had football season tickets for 61 years and basketball season tickets for 54 years, Jim was also a member of the Indiana Historical Society, Newfields Art Museum and a Charter Member of the Indianapolis Zoo and the Eiteljorg Museum.
Jim had a passion for fly fishing for rainbow trout and caught over 1,500 rainbow trout during his fishing career. He enjoyed fishing in Canada. Jim was an avid gardener and had a vegetable garden for many years.
Jim and Kitty loved being international travelers and visited 27 countries which include the European countries, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Jim is survived by daughters, Debby (Dan) Fairley, Kathy (Chris) Christea; grandchildren, Jonathan, James and Peter (Ali) Fairley, Madelyn and Natalie Christea; brother Jerry (Barbara) Baker; and many nephews and nieces. Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Kitty; his parents; son, William Robert and brothers, Max and Don Baker.