Two Lunenburg churches were filled with hundreds of mourners Thursday commemorating the life of Michael Baker.
The 52-year-old provincial finance minister died Monday of skin cancer. Rev. Vivian S. Roberts said goodbye and remembered the man she knew for many years.
There was the kid who wore a tie to school in Grade 5 and was so helpful the teacher called him “Mr. Baker.” There was the teenager who took forever to build up the courage to ask his future wife Cindy out on a date. And there was the prominent politician who struggled to find enough time for both his work and his family.
“I hope St. Peter had everything already organized up in heaven,” Roberts quipped. “Because if he didn’t, it is now.”
So many people showed up at Zion Lutheran Church that an audio feed was sent to the overflow crowd in nearby St. John’s Anglican Church.
There was no shortage of prominent people praising Baker, who carried on as finance minister for years despite battling cancer.
Deborah Robinson of the Association of Mi’kmaq chiefs said Baker played a huge role in bridging the link to First Nations communities when he was Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Premier Rodney MacDonald gave a eulogy for his friend in which he said Baker was, above all else, a family man. He recalled how excited Baker was when he bought a pellet gun for his two sons, Daniel and Matthew.
“He said he didn’t feel for (their) safety. But he did feel for his own, because he was now on his way home to tell Cindy about this new toy,” MacDonald said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Never once did I hear him complain,” MacDonald added about Baker’s lengthy battle with cancer.
“Even though there were many painful days, he always managed to smile.”