James Randle Baber was born on November 3, 1941 in Burkburnett, Texas to Thomas and Edith Baber. He grew up in Randlett, Oklahoma with his siblings, Buck, Jack, Joan, Janella, and Joyce. Jim attended Big Pasture Schools, and after graduating high school, he attended Cameron College in Lawton, Oklahoma and Southeastern State University in Durant, Oklahoma. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree and would later go on to earn his Master’s Degree as well at East Texas State University. Jim married Martha VanLoh on October 11, 1963 in St. Cloud, Florida, and there, they began their lives together. Jim devoted his life to education, teaching at St. Cloud High School before returning to Texas and teaching in Caddo Mills and Campbell where he and Marty raised their three daughters, Kristin Baber Williams, Holly Baber Smith, and Melinda Baber Pease. Jim held almost every job in the school systems that one can have from teaching Driver’s Education and Business classes, working as a school counselor, coaching Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball and finally retiring as Elementary School Principal in Campbell in 2000. After retiring, Jim and Marty enjoyed traveling with his brother and sister-in-law Buck and Judy Baber in their RVs. He frequented the Rec Center at A&M Commerce and was always active. He was a loving, involved grandfather to his eight grandchildren, constantly taking them on adventures, attending school functions and sporting events, and teaching them all to drive. None of them ever doubted the love he had for them, as he showed it in both words and actions. Jim and Marty were devoted members of First Baptist Church in Commerce, Texas. All of his life, Jim was a true servant of God. He exuded the type of character and joy that only come from knowing Christ personally. He is survived by his wife Marty, his brothers Buck and Jack, sister Janella, in-laws Judy Baber, Tommy Cornstubble, daughters Kris, Holly, and Mindy, sons-in-law Doug, Rick, and John, grandchildren Emily and Caine Taylor, Caleb and Megan Williams, Olivia Williams, Saylor and Sutton Smith, and Claire and Luke Pease, and his great-granddaughter, Lyla Taylor as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Thomas and Edith Baber, his sisters Joyce and Joan, and his niece Brenda Tabion.
While all of these things are true about James Randle Baber, they cannot truly capture the man we all knew and loved. He was steadfast, talented, brilliant, hilarious, and Godly. He set a wonderful example for those around him of what it means to know and trust in the Lord. He loved music and jokes and the outdoors. He could fix anything that was broken or make anything you needed. He lived his life with integrity. No one ever left his presence without feeling heard and valued and probably being told a corny joke or two. He will be missed by everyone who knew him, but the hope we have in Jesus is that we will all see him again someday.
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