Former Butler County educator ‘always about making a difference in the lives of the kids’

Gloria Baker spent her entire 35-year career in Hamilton City Schools District

Gloria Baker spent her entire career in education. She was in charge until the day she died.

“It had to be on her time,” said one of her daughters, Tanya Coffey, 59. “She was always a principal.”

Baker, who had dementia, died Saturday. She was 83.

She spent her 35-year career in the Hamilton City Schools District as an elementary teacher and principal at Madison and Hayes elementary schools.

“She was strict,” Coffey said. “She was a disciplinarian with love.”

Baker, a 1956 Hamilton High School graduate, attended Miami University where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She started teaching after her sophomore year because there was a shortage of educators, Coffey said.

When Mary Baker, another daughter, was asked why her mother entered the educational field, she said: “The kids. She was always about making a difference in the lives of the kids. She taught us to stand up for the underdogs, to never back down and always be strong.”

After she earned her master’s degree, Baker took continuing education classes. For one project, she had to write a page against a passionate issue. That was corporal punishment. After writing the paper, Baker changed her beliefs.

“She realized that was not the way,” Coffey said.

As the dementia progressed, Baker couldn’t remember the names of her eight great-grandchildren.

“But she knew they were hers,” said Baker, 58.

Besides her daughters, Baker is survived by three granddaughters, Stacey, Rebecca and Fayelynn; eight great-grandchildren; and sisters Vicki Rhodis and Cindy Campbell.

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Zettler Funeral Home, 2646 Pleasant Ave. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home and entombment will be in St. Stephen Mausoleum.

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