A quiet man and his community
Editor's note: The process of building a legacy is one that builds over many years. For close to 40 years the Foundation has had the privilege of creating lasting relationships with many of our donors who shared the stories of their lives and their dreams for giving back to their community. While their legacies will live on, from time to time, we would like to show you the people behind the legacy through stories and interviews done during their lifetimes.
We never had the pleasure of meeting Johnny Baker, but we learned about him from his brother, Harry Baker z"l.
A quiet man and his communityIn 1988, when the JCF was still in its “infancy”, "planned giving" was an unheard of term. The Foundation was built on will bequests by people who wished to leave a legacy to their community. Many of them were unknown to the Foundation during their lifetime and, as a result, could not be recognized and honoured while they lived.
So when the JCF received a $375,000 bequest from the late Johnny Baker, it was a welcome surprise and one of the largest bequests in its history at the time. For Johnny, it was giving back to the community that was his family.
An orphan at 8 years old, he and his brothers Sam, Harry and Frank, were placed in the Montreal Hebrew Orphans Home. When Johnny was 16, he joined the navy, fighting in WW2 aboard the battleship Uganda.
After the war, he worked in the jewellery business. Shy, gentle and kind, he derived great personal satisfaction from quietly and discreetly helping people open their own jewellery businesses. Never married, Johnny enjoyed the love and admiration of his many friends and family.
“Johnny was the nicest and sweetest guy in the world,” says his brother Harry.
“He would do anything for anyone.
He was that kind of man.”
Johnny Baker died in 1988 at the age of 63. In his Will he provided for the establishment of the Johnny Baker Memorial Fund – an undesignated fund, the proceeds of which will fund new and innovative programs reviewed by the Foundation’s allocations committee.
Johnny’s legacy is an immeasurable gift to future generations in the community he loved.