Janice Lorraine Crittenden Baker
Janice Lorraine Crittenden Baker, 96, passed away on Thursday, January 2, 2020 at Sarah Reed Senior Living. Born in Erie, PA on August 18, 1923, she was the daughter of Clyde J. and Martha Jones Gaugh. After her widowed mother married John C. Crittenden, Sr., he formally adopted her.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Paul Howard Baker in 2015; their son, Stephen Robert Baker in 2005; a sister, Mina Crittenden Yartz and two brothers, John Crittenden Jr. and Willard Crittenden. Janice is survived by three children: Martha Elizabeth Baker of Uberlingen, Germany, Douglas Alan Baker of Torrance, CA, and Judith Anne Baker of Erie; four grandchildren: Zachary Daniel Hughes of Philadelphia, PA, Julian Martin Henry Fibich of Munich, Germany, Verena Marianne Fibich of Ravensburg, Germany, and Jeffrey Patrick Hughes of Erie; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Janice graduated in 1941 from Strong Vincent High School where she participated in Debate Club and was a member of the National Honor Society. She attended Allegheny College prior to earning a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Political Science from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. When given the choice to pursue a career in the foreign service or accept Paul’s marriage proposal, she chose the latter and never regretted her decision to raise the family she loved dearly. She also attended Katherine Gibbs School in Boston, MA to hone business and etiquette skills. In the mid-1990s, she earned a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Penn State Behrend to better serve her involvement with non-profit organizations.
She was a quiet, humble and gracious lady with a light-hearted sense of humor who devoted a lifetime to family, volunteer activities, and travel. Janice was an Honorary Life Member of the American Association of University Women where she served as president of the Erie chapter from 1968 to 1970. She had been involved in AAUW PA statewide programs and especially enjoyed study groups in Art Appreciation and Poetry. In 1972 Janice joined the board of directors of the Sarah A. Reed Corporation, serving as president from 1968 to 1970. After the corporation separated into Children’s and Retirement Centers, she remained on the board of the retirement center until 2004, serving in various capacities and leadership positions, including president from 1998 to 1999. She was also a member of the board of directors at the Erie County Historical Society for eight years. Janice was active in the Women’s League at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul and worked on the building committee to replace the aging chapter house with the new wing housing staff offices and Downey Hall. Together with her husband, she held season tickets to the Erie Philharmonic and Erie Playhouse for many years, and was a longtime supporter of the Erie Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the Western PA Conservancy and numerous other charitable organizations. Janice was accomplished at needlepointing and, in the mid-1960s, stitched two kneelers for the Washington National Cathedral. She had also been a long time member of the Hamot Aid Society, Erie Yacht Club Women’s Auxiliary and Delta Sigma Sorority, a local philanthropic organization of which she was president in 2003.
Janice was an active and proud grandparent to her four grandchildren, two nearby in Lawrence Park and two in Germany. She and Paul frequently travelled to Europe to visit their daughter and grandchildren. Many of those trips were combined with Elderhostel programs for lifelong learning. Janice had a keen interest in Chinese history, politics, art and culture; one of her most cherished trips was to China in 1996.
Burial will be in the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul columbarium in the spring at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to AAUW Erie Branch, PO Box 9264, Erie, PA 16505, Meals on Wheels, 4408 Peach Street, Suite 102, Erie, PA 16509 or the charity of one’s choice.