A lovely, gracious, and godly lady, Vera is very much loved by both present and past members of the Madison Baptist Church, especially the hundreds of her former Sunday School children (most grown up now and scattered across the states) who she taught the love of God during her 45 years teaching the Sunday School kindergarten class at Madison Baptist. Many of those former students, whose life she touched, said she's "our angel on earth." Another wrote on Facebook, "Mrs. Baker is an amazing lady, the perfect Sunday School teacher to introduce all of us through the years to a loving God..." while another said, "I don't know how many children she has taught over the years, but I'll bet most of us who had her as a Sunday School teacher are still involved in our churches today. What a role model."
The above are only a few of the many praises and 'thank you' comments sent to Vera in appreciation for her many acts of kindness, her teachings, and the influence she has had on so many lives
Vera was born 100 years ago on August 21, 1911. She and her husband moved to Boone County from Kentucky in 1943, and settled in Cameo, where he took a job as a mine payroll clerk. In 1952, they moved into a house in Madison where she still resides. Her husband later started a small Credit Bureau office in downtown Madison, and following his death she kept the office open, and worked into her '70's.
On her special day, Vera was visited by family and friends who brought flowers, gifts and cards. She received 100 birthday cards--the number she said she was hoping for since she was celebrating 100 years. She even received a card from President and Mrs. Obama, and from the governor of West Virginia--but perhaps the ones that meant the most to her were from the children of Madison Baptist Church who visited and brought her flowers and cards.
Always humble and modest, Vera said of the attention she was getting, "I really don't feel deserving of all of this." But everyone who knows her would disagree.
Asked the secret to living to be 100, Vera said, "I've loved every day of it. I've always just took one day at time."
"I have so many precious memories of the children who attended Madison Baptist Church," she said. "Too many to list. On a normal Sunday morning there were 25 in my class. All of them were special to me. I wanted all my students to have a great love for God. That's all I ever wanted."
For several years now, Vera's health has kept her at her home most of the time, but she still keeps up to date on happenings at Madison Baptist Church through the church bulletins, newsletters, and visits by fellow members and interim Pastor Rev. Archie Snedegar, who told Vera on a recent visit to her home, "Every time I visit you I feel blessed. I'm glad the Lord has put us together."
"It is a privilege to serve as the interim pastor of the Madison Baptist Church where I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit with most all of the elderly and people because of physical challenges and age they are not able to attend church," Rev. Snedegar said. "I have especially enjoyed my visits with Vera Baker, who for many years has made a spiritual impact on the lives of many people through her Sunday School class. She continues even at 100 years of age to be an inspiration to people throughout the Danville-Madison area. I am privileged to be her pastor and learn from her experiences."
What does Vera want her legacy to be? When asked, she thought for a moment, then said, "That's too deep for me. I'd have to think about that." So much of the world has changed in the last 100 years, what does she foresee for the next 100 years? "That's not a fair question," she said, "because I don't look to tomorrow-- as I said before, I take one day at a time."