Sara Gray Baker, of Granbury, passed away peacefully and enveloped in God’s love on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. She was 89 years old.
She was born Sara Elizabeth Gray to Floyd Edmon Gray and Vollie Viola Love Gray on July 10, 1929 in Albertville, Alabama. Sara Gray graduated from Albertville High School in 1947 and was an active member of First Baptist Church, Albertville during her youth and young adulthood.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Judson College in Marion, Alabama in 1951 and began graduate studies at Westminster
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Judson College in Marion, Alabama in 1951 and began graduate studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before accepting the position of Choral Director at First Baptist Church in Scottsboro, Alabama. There she met George Baker from Boston, Massachusetts, who was serving as band director in the Scottsboro school district and playing trumpet professionally with the Birmingham Symphony and the Birmingham Pops Orchestra. They were united in marriage on December 23rd, 1955.
In 1962, George and Sara Baker accepted Administrative and Teaching positions in the Music Department at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas and began their respective 37-year tenure as HPU faculty members, building a legacy which continues to resonate through alumni, students and programs.
Mrs. Sara Baker completed a Master of Music degree at Howard Payne University in 1969 with a Secondary Public School Certification in English and Music. She served as Associate Professor of Music at Howard Payne, teaching Voice, Vocal Pedagogy, Italian Diction, and as director of the Heritage Singers and Chorus Director of Musicals. She was awarded the HPU Medal of Service Honor in 2003 and the HPU Yellow Rose Award in 2007 for her dedication and exemplary leadership.
She was a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Chorister’s Guild, and the American Business Women’s Association.
Mrs. Baker also served as Minister of Music in several churches, organizing and directing children’s, youth and adult choirs and Christmas and Easter musicals. Furthermore, she was highly sought-after as a soloist for performances in Classical and Sacred Concerts, Recitals and Musicals for her beautiful soprano voice.
The Bakers were longtime members of First Baptist church in Brownwood. After their retirement, the couple moved to Granbury where they joined First Baptist Church.
Sara Gray Baker was an abiding source of joy, light and inspiration and was deeply loved and respected by her family, friends, colleagues and students. Her positive influence is indelibly printed on the hearts of all who knew her.
She is survived by her daughters: Alicia Gerber of Addison, and Allison Gray and husband Scott Beyer of New Canaan, Connecticut; her much loved grandchildren: Austin Gerber, Reese Gerber, Gray Beyer and Rachel Beyer; her sister, Martha Gray Snider; her sister-in-law, Marylene Gray; and her nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Kenneth Gray; and her husband of nearly 57 years, Dr. George A. Baker.
A celebration of her life will be held at Grace Chapel on the campus of Howard Payne University, Brownwood, on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. with a reception immediately following. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The George and Sara Baker Endowed Scholarship Fund, Howard Payne, University, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804.