Rodney Carl Baker Sr., who helped establish many minority-owned businesses, died on May 4, 2023, at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
Born in Muskegon, Michigan on November 23, 1946, the son of Arnold C. and Ruth L. Baker, he grew up in Rye, N.Y. His father was executive director of the Carver Center in Port Chester in the 1950s.
At Rye High School, he distinguished himself as a leader and an athlete. He played soccer, basketball, and golf, and in 1964 set the record for the triple jump, his specialty, in track and field. He also sang in the school choir.
After graduating, he studied at Howard University and Morris Brown College from which he received a Bachelor of Science in Management.
He was employed at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
After retiring from the Small Business Administration in 2007, Mr. Baker continued to consult with minority businesses assisting them with all aspects of development.
A devoted member of Laster Chapel United Methodist Church, he sang with the Gospel Choir, Chancel Choir, and Male Chorus. He loved entertaining, playing golf with friends, traveling, and the frequent gathering of family and friends.
A dedicated member of the Rye High School Alumni Association, he made every effort to attend the annual Rye/Harrison game.
He looked for opportunities to help young people, whether in their track and field efforts or in finding them employment after they graduated from college.
He left a significant impression on those who knew and interacted with him and will be greatly missed by friends, family, and colleagues.
Mr. Baker is survived by his children, Rhonda (Brian) Kelley of Durham N.C., Angela (Greg) Dockery of Riverview, Fla., and Rodney Carl Baker Jr. of Granby, Colo.; his siblings, Joanne (Richard Jr.) Jones of Mitchellville Md., and Arnold C. Baker II of New York City; and his seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents.