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Edna Lorraine Adkins McNeir Baker, 91, died Thursday, July 4, peacefully in the home she shared with her son in Silver Spring, MD after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Baltimore, she was a longtime resident of Williamsburg where she was an ardent community activist and dedicated member of First Baptist Church, serving on the Diaconate Board and singing in the choir until moving to Silver Spring with her only child, “Nicky.” Her husband, Cleveland B. McNeir, preceded her in death in 1995.
After graduating from Bruton Heights School, she matriculated at Hampton University where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in 1947, later earning a Master of Education at Wayne State University in Detroit. She taught 1st and 2nd grades at George Elementary School in Detroit for over 20 years until her retirement.
Edna Baker, our beloved matriarch and elder of the family, affectionately called “G-Mommy” and “Auntie,” showered love upon scores of youth, shared her love of the arts, provided financial support for those seeking higher education, faithfully contributed to her two church homes, St. Andrews AME (Detroit) and First Baptist, and was a lifetime member of both the NAACP and her sorority. No matter what the situation, she always trusted that God would see her and her loved ones through any storm. The Adkins homestead on Scotland Street served as the venue for many fun-filled dinners, celebrations and prayer meetings and was once a safe sleeping location for Blacks in the 40s and 50s when segregation denied them access to hotels. The youngest of three children, her sister (Frances Jones) and brother (James Adkins, Jr.) preceded her in death. She remained by their sides, as well as her mother’s, when sickness overcame them, taking up residence in the Adkins’ latter home on Harriet Tubman Drive.
After her niece, Beverly Charity played “Cupid,” an arranged encounter at First Baptist led to her meeting Deacon Dr. James E. Baker, then a widower. The two quickly fell in love, married and traveled the globe, always taking her two grandchildren, Jasmine and Jared, for the summers as was a long family tradition. She remained a devoted helpmate to Dr. Baker, virtually inseparable, until his death in 2014.
She leaves to cherish her memories; her son, the Rev. D. Kevin McNeir; adopted daughter, Pearl Moss; two grandchildren, Jasmine Brooks (Willie) and Jared McNeir; two great-grandsons, Jordon and Jackson Brooks; daughter-in-law, Candace Jenkins; nephews/nieces, Ronnie McNeir, David McNeir and Sharon McNeir; great-nieces/nephews, Cheryl and Dereth Lindsey, Tracy and Ravette Bey; three goddaughters, Deirdre Accornero, Wanda Sanders and Pamela Christian and a host of others.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2019, in First Baptist Church, Williamsburg, with the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shields, Sr., officiating. Interment to follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Family and friends are to assemble at the church by 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The family will receive friends on Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in the funeral home, with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Ivy Beyond The Wall ceremony beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting's Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg. 757-229-3011. whitingsfuneralhome.com.
Cards may be sent to 2413 Jones Lane, Silver Spring, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of Education Scholarship Committee (in Edna’s name), c/o Mrs. Pearl Moss, 25135 Mulberry Dr., Southfield, MI 48033.