It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gary Lin Baker, age 64. He passed away peacefully on May 20, 2018, in Santa Clara, California.
He was born May 24, 1953, in Ogden, Utah to Pete Baker and Jean Allan, attended Ogden City Schools, including T. O. Smith, Washington Jr. High and graduating from Ogden High in 1971.
Gary met the love of his life, Tina M. Garcia, 50 years ago. They were high school sweethearts and married in 1975. Tina had a large extended family and they welcomed him with open arms. He really loved Tina’s family like he did his own. Gary was always very hard working, even from a young age, including paper routes to one of his earliest jobs as a dishwasher at the Star Noodle on notorious 25th Street in Ogden, when it was a wild and crazy street! He worked for a brief time in the Trona mines near Green River, Wyoming, before Gary and Tina eventually made their way to California. Gary became a businessman and entrepreneur in the Bay Area, starting his career with Dela Cruz Deli. He flourished and founded Freedom Hall and Gardens in 1995 and with his previous catering experience, made it into a highly successful all-inclusive wedding facility, specializing also in many other celebrations and off-site catering. Gary and his loyal staff, whom he loved and also became like family, catered many large events in the Bay Area, including concerts in Golden Gate Park, Laguna Sega Raceway and Sears Point. Gary couldn’t wait to show us a pic of him serving Paul Newman a burger! He had to sign a “Do Not Tell” clause before catering David Copperfield and his entourage! The biggest “surprise” he ever pulled off was hosting a 50th surprise birthday party for Tina with a weekend celebration. Family and friends joined the festivities, starting with the party at Freedom Hall. Gary even played guitar with the band for a couple of songs! Not too shabby, considering it had been 35 years since he had played guitar in a garage band! We continued celebrating with trips to Sonoma Wine Country and San Francisco.
In later years, Gary and Tina were able to divide their time between Utah and California, eventually building a beautiful cabin in Manor Lands in the Uinta Mountains in Utah. It became his favorite place to entertain family and friends, bringing him the greatest pleasure. He would always say it was his happy place! Gary had a passion for travel and he and Tina traveled the world on many fun trips with family and friends, cruises being one of his favorite ways to go! He lived life to the fullest and it was always his goal to ensure that life was to be celebrated. He looked forward to celebrating Thanksgiving in Lodi, with all his extended family. It was truly one of his favorite holidays! Life was always an adventure in Gary’s world, and he made sure that any activity he was part of was an unforgettable experience for those involved. He loved going to movies and was a huge rock and roll fan, seeing dozens of legendary concerts. Gary was also a huge baseball fan, collecting memorabilia along the way, as he traveled to all the baseball stadiums in America, always with family or friends. Oakland A’s was his favorite team, holding season tickets for over 40 years. GO A’s!! Although Tina and Gary had no children of their own, Gary doted on all his nieces and nephews, making each and every one feel special. When the kids were little, they’d all say, “I’m Uncle Gary’s favorite” because he made them all feel like they were! Uncle “Gee” loved them all and enjoyed making memories like cabin time, ATV rides, Disneyland, cruises and many more fun experiences.
“Gary, you touched many lives with your kindness and positive spirit and we all love you. You will forever be in our hearts.”
Tina expresses a special thank you to Donna Baker, Eloy and Betty Garcia and Cheri Audia for their extra support during this difficult time. Sandy, Betty and Lori, you all have been so helpful.
Gary is survived by his loving wife,Tina; sisters Cheri Audia (Tony); JoAnn Eisenberg (Rod); mother in law, Billy Garcia, several brother and sister in laws, nieces and nephews: Nephews, Tom Baker (Donna) and Lance Baker. He is also survived by his Aunts, Dorothy Thompson and Katie Fackrell.
Please join us for his Celebration of Life, one being held in Utah at The Grand View, 339 E 2250 S, Ogden, on June 21, 5:00-8:00 PM. Parking is available West of Grand View. The other is at Freedom Hall and Gardens, 3910 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, California, June 29, 6:30-10:00 PM.
NOTE: if you have Oakland A’s baseball shirts, T-Shirts or hats, please wear to the Celebration of Life. GO A’s!!
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.darlingandfischer.com