Valerie Ann Baker

KENNEBUNK – Valerie Ann Baker, 70, a resident of Kennebunk and longtime educator in the Kennebunk School system, died suddenly Friday evening at Southern Maine Health Center in Biddeford.

Mom, Mama-Mia, Mia, Mrs. Baker or Val, to all who knew and loved her, was born June 25, 1950, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., the daughter of Camiel and Mariette Tack Dhaveloose, and a graduate of Grosse Pointe schools.

She furthered her education in Florida, where she attended Barry College and earned her undergraduate degree in Education and her first master’s degree in special education. Her second master’s degree came later at University of Southern Maine, in education administration.

It was in Florida, while working as an elementary school special education teacher and moonlighting as a barkeeper, that she met her life partner, Arthur Peter Baker. They began their life together in Florida, welcoming their first son, Ryan, in 1980. While in Florida she pursued her love for education and helping others by teaching at Pompano Elementary and Coral Springs Middle School as well as organizing and teaching life skills courses like sewing and cooking to Adult Special Ed students in her community. In 1984, Valerie and Peter made the move from Florida to Maine with their then 4-year-old son, following a trip to Damariscotta where she fell in love with all that Maine had to offer her and the future of her family.

She accepted her first teaching position in Maine with the Kittery School District before joining Kennebunk S.A.D 71 in 1987 where she has spent the last 33 years doing what she loved. In 1988, after purchasing ‘her favorite little house’ on Cat Mousam Road, Val and Peter welcomed their youngest son, Kyle. During her pregnancy, Val fought and beat three different forms of cancer, while maintaining her health, positive mindset, and delivering a healthy little boy… a true testament to her strength and character. Although technically able to retire years ago, Val was working towards her goal of 50 years in education, starting year 48 this fall. For many years she lead the Special Education department at the Middle School of the Kennebunks.

Val was a fierce advocate for her students and family throughout her life. She loved her work and enjoyed seeing former students (now multiple generations) around town. Aside from positively impacting so many lives through her teaching career, Val never took a break from helping and supporting others, especially her loved ones. She also helped Peter run his plumbing business, taking care of the books and managing his office.

When Val wasn’t at school or at home helping her family, she was at work on her crafts trying to find yet another way to make people smile and brighten up this world. A long time veteran of many local craft fairs, including the renowned Prelude Festival Craft Fair, Val loved her crafting. She had a large work area in her basement where she would spend hours creating various seasonal ornaments, decorations, and more in a variety of creative mediums. Come spring time you would then find Val outside tending to her beautiful flower gardens. In 1994 Val helped create the Kennebunk Hockey Boosters and played a key role in the booster club during the years her sons played for Kennebunk High School. She could frequently be found in the bleachers of ice cold arenas, on the sidelines of the lacrosse field, or anywhere she could find to use ‘that voice’ in support of her sons and grandchildren, despite what any referee may have called.

Val was the most genuine, caring, selfless, and hard working person that many of us have ever known. She has impacted so many lives in her community and beyond. Nothing mattered to her other than the well being of others and she would want to be remembered for all that is good in the world. In these dark days, we can think of people like Val as the bright guiding light leading us to positivity no matter how difficult things may get.

Survivors include her husband, Arthur Peter Baker of Kennebunk, two sons, Ryan Baker and his wife Jodie of Hopkinton, Mass., Kyle Baker and his wife Andrea of Alfred, a brother, Ronnie Dhaveloose, two sisters, Diane Halley and Maribeth Harris, stepdaughter, Kim and family, and three grandsons, Brody, Austin and Jameson, and two granddaughters, Colbie and Riley Baker.

Friends are invited to visit with the family 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St., Kennebunk. All will be asked to comply with CDC guidelines of wearing a mask and physically distancing during this time.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Val’s Book of Memories Page at http://www.bibberfuneral.com

Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, Maine, 04043.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Valerie Baker Scholarship fund to be established through the Kennebunk School System. Details to come.

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