Webster Crossing - Mrs. Sue Baker, 80, returned from a shopping trip in Dansville for the Webster Crossing Methodist Church yesterday to find volunteer firemen swarming over her house trying to quell a fire.
Mrs. Baker is somewhat of a legend in the community for her work for this small church.
Her reaction to seeing her home somewhat charred did not show in her face, which is bright and quick to break into a smile, but there was little doubt that she had great concern for the house she had lived in for the past 30 years and the home in which her husband was born in 86 years ago.
This type of deep concern is what lead Mrs. Baker and her sister-in-law to do something about a “dying” Methodist Church several years ago.
The Webster Crossing Methodist Church, although not big, was not growing and needed some repairs. One of the items sought was a stove for the church kitchen.
One day Mrs. Baker decided to see what could be done about a stove. Armed with $25 and an ad cut from a newspaper she and her sister-in-law visited a Wayland appliance store.
They told the proprietor the church’s need of a stove and that they only had $25. The stove in question had a price tag of $98 but the kindly store owner said he would sell it for $50 - $25 down and $25 later.
All this took place on a Monday. The women decided that if they held a baked bean and weiner dinner at the church on Wednesday they might raise the balance of $25 for the stove.
The dinner was held Wednesday with an anticipated attendance of 10 to 15, but 60 persons came and the church workers had to run to the store for more food. At the end of the meal with aprons still tied about them, the two women hurried off to Wayland to pay off the balance of their debt.
Thus was the first of many suppers at the church for Sue Baker. The suppers grew so in popularity that a $2,500 addition was built on the church to accommodate the crowds. This was paid from the supper profits.
When things got a little slow, Mrs. Baker helped with the planning of street dances at the Conesus Co-Op parking lot because, at a spry 80, she would “rather dance than eat any day.”
The dances are held once a month and the dinners, which have not been held since December will be resumed this week.
Church work is not all that Mrs. Baker does. She also holds down two part-time jobs as a cook in the Dansville and Conesus Nursing homes.
“I didn’t start working until after my children were grown,” said Mrs. Baker, “but I haven’t stopped since.
This elder citizen, who seems to sparkle like she was 30 instead of 80, also is a problem for the State Unemployment Service Office in Dansville.
It seems that every time her work slacks off she is in looking for a job rather than collect unemployment. Social welfare and state benefits for elder citizens are definitely not her cup of tea.
The Bakers, who celebrated their 60th wedding last August, have found that activity seems to be the key to health and happiness in their “golden years.” Baker buys and sells cattle and Mrs. Baker cooks.
Mrs. Baker was away from her home yesterday when the fire started - she had gone to Dansville to buy a new rug, “To make the church dining room look nice for the dinner Saturday night.”