Baker—Alice Jeanette Harcourt Baker, 89, on August 4, 2021, in Burlington, Vt. Jeanette was born on March 25, 1932, to Allan Kenneth Harcourt and Alice Louise Shaw Harcourt in Indianapolis, Ind., where she and her brother grew up. Indianapolis First Friends Meeting was her spiritual home as a child. Jeanette graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. After being introduced by mutual friends, she and Clyde N. Baker Jr. married in October 1955. They were the last couple who married at First Friends Meeting’s location at Thirteenth and Alabama Streets.
Jeanette and Clyde spent most of their married life in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Ill., where they raised their three children, Mark, Lynn, and Glen. They subsequently welcomed six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Extended summer visits to their property on Lake Champlain in Vermont were a tradition for the Bakers. Jeanette enjoyed being at the cottage, and this is where she spent her final days before a brief hospitalization.
A lifelong Quaker, Jeanette transferred her membership to Evanston Meeting in 1967, when the Bakers moved to Evanston, Ill. Over many decades, Jeanette served several terms as clerk of the meeting and participated on every committee. She clerked the First-day School Committee and actively engaged in its education programs for young persons. Following her belief in the importance of the religious education of children, Jeanette enrolled at age 56 in Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Evanston and earned a master’s degree in religious education.
Jeanette was Evanston Meeting’s delegate to Interfaith Action of Evanston for more than a decade and received its Vision Keeper Award in 2014. She served on administrative councils of affiliated yearly meetings and was the monthly meeting’s representative to quarterly meeting and for Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Friends Service Committee, Evanston Council of Churches, and other organizations.
Jeanette held several positions dealing with the education of children, particularly those with disabilities and mental differences. She was cited for her work in open housing on Chicago’s North Shore and opened her home to people from other countries, as well as to people experiencing serious problems.
Jeanette was known for her beautiful singing voice. She traveled internationally as a member of the Community Renewal Chorus, sang “O Holy Night” at Christmas Eve services, and arranged carol singing and visitation with elderly or homebound members of Evanston Meeting. She enjoyed painting in watercolor or oil, generally depicting flowers, houses, and landscapes.
For many years, Jeanette and Clyde made annual trips to Florida and to the southwest, where they visited former members of Evanston Meeting, friends of Jeanette from Indianapolis, and elementary school friends of Clyde’s, among others. Once you became a friend, Jeanette retained you forever.
Jeanette was predeceased by one child, Lynn Baker, in 2015; and one grandchild in 2010. She is survived by her husband, Clyde N. Baker Jr.; two children; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.