Linda Baker
Linda Baker
DELPHOS — When Linda Baker moved to Delphos in 1980 from Galion for a fresh start with her two children, she never imagined she would embrace her new community and 35 years later, she would still be here working to preserve its history.

“I was just graduating from Bowling Green State University and I attended a job fair in Columbus,” Baker recalled. “I met Arden Blythe, the Delphos City Schools superintendent at the time, and I applied for the position of librarian at the high school. I interviewed along with another girl I went to college with and I got it.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Baker spent 28 years as a library/media specialist at Jefferson High School, coached volleyball and started the district’s post prom effort in 1989. She also served as president of the Delphos Education Association for two years, during which she coordinated two special events: “Teachers Touch Lives,” where former graduates chose a teacher who made a difference in their lives and a reception was held; and “Back to School,” where community members were invited to teach a class for a day.

“I just thought everyone should be on the same page and have an interest in their school,” Baker said.

Baker volunteered for the American Cancer Society at the Allen County Relay for Life for two years and when it came time to start a Relay for Life in Delphos, Baker jumped on board on the first steering committee and for the next eight years, would serve as captain for the high school staff team or for her church, Trinity United Methodist.

“Cancer haw touched everyone,” Baker said. “It brought so many of the community together for one cause.”

Baker was also on the planning committee for the Darlene Alt Memorial Run/Walk.

In 2002, Baker was asked by Teresa Bradstock to join the Canal Commission as a trustee.

“I said sure. Little did I know what that would entail,” Baker said with a laugh. “I had visited the museum in its infancy when it was very small. It isn’t so small anymore.”

Baker would spend the next 13 years putting her librarian skills to the test organizing and categorizing at the museum. She performs research for signage on museum exhibits to provide an enhanced visitor experience and has helped with archiving and putting items in a data base using a numbering system.

“They call me the organizer,” Baker said. “The librarian in me wants to categorize everything and put everything in order.”

She also put her computer skills to task putting together the museum’s newsletter for seven years. The publication, “New Eddies in the Current,” is mailed out to the museum membership. She is also one of three trustees who writes monthly “On the Banks of Yesteryear” articles for The Delphos Herald.

When she saw how much more the museum could offer the public, she talked with other trustees and they were able to open the museum on the weekends making it possible to double the hours of availability. She does the volunteer scheduling and most of the student tours from schools.

“I do spend a lot of hours a the museum,” Baker said. “I and another of the trustees always joke that as long as we are up at the museum, we don’t have to be home cleaning.”

Baker hasn’t limit her time to Delphos’s history. She also served on the Mission Committee at Trinity and coordinated volunteers for Our Daily Bread soup kitchen for four years in a joint venture with Salem Mennonite Church. More than 100 different people, including members of the Jefferson High School basketball team, got to directly experience serving those less fortunate.

“I served on the Mission Committee twice,” Baker said. “I really didn’t know what the committee did until I served on it. You can’t understand something until you’re a part of it. I stepped down to let new people come in so more could grasp what the committee did.”

Baker also shares her singing voice at church with her 30-year membership in the choir.

“I love music and it’s a big part of my life,” Baker said. “When I’m struggling, music helps me and I love to harmonize.”

At the young age of 72, Baker isn’t ready to slow down just yet.

“I still enjoy the museum and I don’t feel like I’m done there yet. I don’t get involved in a lot of things so I can give what I am doing 100 percent,” she said. “I usually don’t stay with things for a long time. I find something that interests me and work on it until I accomplish what I set out to do. There’s still more to do at the museum.”

Baker said she gets her go-get-‘em attitude from her mother.

“Mom was always a doer,” she recalled. “She was a Girl Scout leader and a volunteer with the March of Dimes. I remember watching her volunteer for a lot of causes. When I was in fourth grade, the teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, ‘a Girl Scout leader.’ Everyone else wanted to be a doctor or a firefighter.”

Baker’s daughter, Michele Baker-Lindsay, and her twins live in Dayton, Tennessee. Her son, James, lives in Delphos.