Tribal Obituary – Christopher Alvin Baker Sr.

Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

Christopher Alvin Baker, Sr.

Chris was born on December 17, 1926 to Julian and Ultima (Watts) Baker in a small home near what is known today as La Boca, CO. He was the fourth of five Baker boys.

Chris’ education began in Ignacio, CO. He was enrolled in the Ignacio School system until he entered ninth grade. He then enrolled in the Southern Ute Vocational School located north of Ignacio. He graduated from the Vocational School along with four classmates in 1945. After graduation, Chris began attending Fort Lewis College; unfortunately he had to quit due to family hardship.

Chris went on to work at odd jobs to help the family. He then married Esther Coyote in 1948. They were married fifty-five years until her passing on September 9, 2002.   Chris and Esther began farming in 1950 in the La Boca and Carracas areas of the Southern Ute reservation. They raised their family of six children: Clifton (Alice), Carol (Richard), Bonnie, Nancy (Mike), Christine (Roger), Chris Jr., an adopted son Myron (Kressy), and several grandchildren.

Chris worked for the Forestry Department of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Archuleta Mesa. He continued farming and working for the Tribe until 1963.

In 1963, he was elected to the Southern Ute Tribal Council. The family then moved into the town of Ignacio. Chris was a Tribal Councilman for eight years and was then appointed Southern Ute Vice-Chairman by Leonard C. Burch in 1978 and held that position until 1984. In 1985, he was elected to fill the position of Southern Ute Tribal Chairman until 1987 also was appointed to fill the position of a Southern Ute Tribal Councilman by then Chairman Clement Frost for the remainder of three months until a new member was elected. At this time he then retired.

During the entire time in office he was involved in many, many Tribal governmental decisions that laid the foundation for the successful ventures that are now becoming evident. Chris worked on projects that affected the entire community of Ignacio including the SUCAP Program where he represented our Tribe and had a big part in participating with the Animas LaPlata project. He was elected President of the National Headstart group for a term. He served on several committees and boards including the Ignacio School Board and the Ignacio Town Board. He developed an ambulance service for the community even volunteered as an EMT, and a driver for the ambulance. He also was a consultant for the Governmental Farm Service Agency located in Durango, CO.

Chris enjoyed his time working for the Southern Ute Indian Tribal membership but also enjoyed his retirement when farming became a full time job. He enjoyed being a Southern Ute politician, husband, farmer, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great grandfather. As of this year 2015, he was grandfather to seventeen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He is survived by all seven children, all grandchildren, all great grandchildren, great-great grandchild, nieces, and nephews. He will be leaving his loving companion and best friend, his dog “Baby”.   Everyone to him was a friend, never had an enemy.

In his own words, “Life has been good I am rich in memories beyond my dreams.”

Rosary will be recited at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm. Mass will be on Monday, July 13, 2015 at 10:00 am also at St. Ignatius Catholic church.

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