It has been said that the class of 1956 knew Tom Baker was unique. He was the class president and served on the Executive Council for 5 years. He was a member of the varsity basketball team and the Handlian staff.
After earning an Electrical Engineering degree at Virginia Tech in 1960, he worked for Westinghouse on the nuclear submarine USS Ethan Allen. Tom married Sheila Fries, a member of the Handley Class of 1957. They returned to Winchester in 1963 to work with his father in the electrical contracting firm, Baker & Anderson. He moved into real estate development and established storage and warehouse units around Winchester.
Tom and Shelia lost their daughter to Lymphoma in 1976. In 1982, Tom read an article about a special summer camp for children living with cancer and their families. He decided he wanted to create a similar camp. Tom and Shelia secured help from the National Institutes of Health, the 4-H Center in Front Royal, the Rotary Club, plus countless volunteers. In August 1983, 29 children, aged 7 to 17, came for one week of camping. Camp Fantastic and Special Love, Inc. continue to serve children living with cancer and their families forty years later.
In the early 1990’s, Tom and Sheila donated their first home and 3 acres of land on Battaile Drive to create the Youth Development Center.
Tom was a member of the Rotary Club of Winchester for over 45 years. Rotary recognized him with its Distinguished Service Award for exceptional continuous service and, in 2016, the Avenues of Service Award for his work on club, community, vocational, new generations and international service projects.