Rena M. Baker, 69, died on Friday, June 19, 2020 at her Lovettsville, VA home with her husband and youngest child by her side.
After a long-time battle with cancer, her family deemed her as “Wonder Woman,” after being given 6 months to live with colon cancer 13 years ago, and again 5 years ago with uterine cancer. While she succumbed to cancer in the end, we agree that for 13 years, she told that cancer who was boss.
Rena was born in Oakland, CA to Robert Wilson and Darlynne Vaughn (Ford) Bishop. Moving around from place to place as the daughter of a Navy Chief, she moved across the street from the Baker Family during High School in Warren, NJ. She used to watch “the boy across the street” fix his car and vowed that one day she would marry him. That boy joined the Air Force and upon returning home 4 years later, they were reunited, and he took her to her Junior Prom “as friends.” Later that year, Harold Owen Baker III and Rena Mae Bishop were engaged. Rena graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School in 1968, and she and Harold married on July 27th, 1968, just 17 days after her 18th birthday. Harold and Rena celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a surprise party thrown by their children in 2018, and with a special certificate from the Pope. Passing just shy of their 52nd wedding anniversary, she and Harold were inseparable until the end, having just traveled on a 3 week cross country trip across the United States in their Pop-Up Camper months prior, and had just spent a week in Hawaii a few weeks prior to her recent relapse.
Although she held many jobs over the years, Rena’s favorite occupation, and one that she proudly proclaimed was, “homemaker.” Blessed with four children, Rena spent years as a room mother at school for all four children, as the team mom for various sports teams, as a Girl Scout Leader for both girls over 8 years, and was always willing to chip in when needed. She spent 6 years as an elected School Board Member in Alpha, NJ, and was selected as Alpha Youth Athletic Association’s, “Woman of the Year” for her volunteer efforts.
Amidst her involvement in her children’s activities, Rena was also an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary. As a member for 46 years, Harold and Rena were active members of John Dolak Post 446 in Alpha, NJ, Spotsylvania Post 320 in Spotsylvania, VA, and Post 104 in Appomattox, VA. Upon moving in with their daughter in Lovettsville, VA, Harold and Rena also worked tirelessly alongside their daughter and son-in-law as Founders of Lovettsville American Legion Post/Unit 1836, where Rena served as the Founding and Current Unit President. During her years of service, Rena also served as District President for multiple districts, served as a Committeewoman for many Department (state) committees, served as Historian for the Department of Virginia and served as Department Vice President. The American Legion Family was near and dear to Rena’s heart.
Rena is predeceased by her parents, Robert and Darlynne Bishop, her brother, Allan Bishop (Michelle), and her sister, Orena Sturm (Frank). She is survived by her siblings, Robert Bishop (Carol), Zena Freeman (Gordon), and Gerry Bishop (Kathy). Harold and Rena were blessed with four children, David R. Baker (Carmela), Joseph Scott “Stump” Baker (Ann), Sarah M. Hardy (David), and Elizabeth “Lizzy” R. Fontaine (Nate). Harold and Rena have 12 Grandchildren, Alyssha Trahey, Dustin Trahey (Aisra), Jessica Harris, Shannon Weltner (Paul), Lindsay Baker, Zachary Harris, Kimberly Baker, James Hardy, Faith Hardy, Grace Fontaine, Joseph S. Baker Jr., and Austin Fontaine, along with 5 Great-Grandchildren, Dominic Trahey, Joseph Sylvia, Alana Sylvia, Lydia Weltner and Kevin Weltner.
Rena will always be remembered for her love and dedication to God and Country, to her family, and to her community. She was a proud member of St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town, WV. She could always be counted on for a warm cup of coffee, and the best cheesecake around. Her favorite things included camping with her Husband, playing with her grandchildren, eating breakfast at Bonnie’s Country Kitchen in Lovettsville, Hallmark movies and watching the Bachelor on Monday nights. She was an avid crafter, and seamstress, and dedicated her final years to ancestry.com. She loved everyone, loved to laugh, lived life to the fullest, and will be greatly missed by all.
A funeral mass will be held at St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town, WV at 2:00pm on Thursday, July 2nd followed by a reception at the Lovettsville Game Protection Association in Lovettsville, VA. In lieu of flowers, Rena has requested that donations be made to Capital Caring Hospice.