Eugenia “Jeanne” Marie (Jones) Baker passed away at home surrounded by family on Friday, February 14, 2020, from pancreatic cancer. Jeanne was born January 29, 1933, in Granite City, Illinois, the only child of Russell and Elene (Carey) Jones.
After moving away from Granite City, Jeanne also grew up in Rosati, St. James, and Jefferson City, Missouri. Jeanne graduated from John F. Hodge High School in St. James, Missouri in 1950. She attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri and completed two years. In 1957, she married David Baker, Jr. (d. 2016) in an elopement in Chicago; this was the closest place they could legally marry, as interracial marriage was still illegal in most of the country. In 1958, their only daughter, April, was born. Jeanne was the sole provider for their family during this time because David was recovering from injuries due to a car accident. She also supported David in his musical career, including typing and editing his books, and forging relationships in the musical community. Oftentimes she worked her 8-5 job, came home and cooked for David and three children (daughter April and two nephews, Kim and David Michael, who were living with them), and then would type his books until time to go back to work the next day. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1978. Jeanne was an accomplished musician in her own right, as she was a trained opera singer. Jeanne was personally invited in 1956 to audition for the Metropolitan Opera.
Jeanne was a gracious, loving, devoted, generous mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. She was adventurous; she took flying lessons, and loved traveling. She enjoyed traveling for her job at AIT, and traveled extensively with her second chance at happiness, second husband Bernard Deutsch (d. 2005); she knew Bern during her adolescence, and they re-connected much later in life. Jeanne and Bern traveled within the United States, as well as to Greece, Italy and Turkey. Jeanne lived in Maryland with Bern from 1997 to 2001, when they both moved back to Bloomington, where daughter April and granddaughter Kirsten still lived. Jeanne and Bern’s life together was full of laughter, traveling, good food and wine, and joy.
Jeanne was very close to her family. People who knew her well would say that her daughter April, granddaughter Kirsten, and great-grandsons were her world. Jeanne and April were very close, traveling together, having lunch and dinner dates, and long phone conversations. Jeanne was particularly close with her granddaughter, from having movie and popcorn nights when Kirsten was small, to phone calls, to coffee, lunch and dinner dates, shopping trips, and just spending time together throughout Kirsten’s adolescence and adulthood. She adored her great-grandsons, and loved playing and laughing with them. Jeanne continually doted on her family, in both little thoughtful gestures, as well as meticulously planned vacations and legendary holiday celebrations. Jeanne loved all things Disney, and greatly enjoyed visiting Disney World as often as she could.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, and uncle; former husband David Baker; former sister-in-law and friend Shirley Crawford, and spouse Bernard Deutsch. She is survived by her daughter April (Bradley) Ayers; granddaughter Kirsten (Nicholas) Bartalone; great-grandchildren Dylan, Benjamin, and Parker Bartalone; nephew David Michael (Dawn) Crawford; great-nephews Elijah and Greyson Crawford; nephew Kim Crawford; great-nieces Temeley and Tanzyn Crawford; and many wonderful friends.
The family would like to thank friends, the Bloomington Free Methodist Church, and the Simon Cancer Center for their love and support. Special thanks to Jeanne’s oncologist, Patrick Loehrer, MD, and oncology nurse, Diana Bayes, RN.
Visitation is 3-7 PM Tuesday and 10:00-11:00 AM Wednesday at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard, 3000 E. Third Street Bloomington, Indiana. Services are at 11:00 AM Wednesday at The Funeral Chapel.
Jeanne requested that donations in her memory be made to the Indiana University Foundation/Pancreatic Cancer Research, IU Simon Cancer Center c/o IU Foundation, P.O. Box 7072, Indianapolis, IN 46207. Envelopes with the Eugenia Baker memorial account information will be available at The Funeral Chapel.