Arizona Firefighter Dies From Injuries

St. David, AZ -- St. David Volunteer Firefighter Thomas C. Baker, 54, died Friday, Nov. 19, due to complications from a heart attack and stroke he suffered while responding to a fire call two years ago.

Baker's wife, Joy, said her husband responded to a structure fire on Feb. 24, 2002, when he had a heart attack and then a major stroke.

"He lived for the fire department," Joy said. "That was his true love, along with the community of St. David. He gave everything he had to the community of St. David."

Joy said Baker was completely disabled from the stroke he had suffered but had always hoped to return to duty at the fire department. Besides firefighting, Baker was also the department engineer.

St. David Volunteer Fire Chief Shawna Gephart said Baker will be missed.

"He was a great asset to the entire fire department," Gephart said. "He was always there when we needed somebody. He rarely complained and would do anything for you. He was just an all-around great guy."

Besides serving on the fire department for more than four years, Baker also volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens in Benson and the St. David Commodities Food Bank.

Joy said she is going to miss her husband's sense of humor the most.

"He was a lot of fun to be around," Joy said. "He always loved to joke around and always had that cute smile on his face."

His wife, two younger brothers, a daughter, a son and grandchildren survive Baker.

His mother and father and a younger sister preceded him in death.

A graveside memorial has been set for Saturday, Nov. 27, at 3:30 p.m., at the St. David Cemetery.