Baker lived with flare and generosity

 

December 14, 2017

Friends remember Suzi Baker's rock and roll style.

Suzanne Sharelle (Suzi) Baker died Dec. 7 at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle of esophageal cancer. She was 45.

Baker was born April 10, 1972 in Reno, Nevada, where she grew up, attended school, and met and married her first husband, John Wiggins. They moved to Haines in 1996. "She was quite a people person, and really loved to help needy people and old folks," and was "an incredible artist," he said.

She drew well, and also made ivory and silver jewelry, working for Tlingit artist Sue Folletti. She was Shoshone and created mostly Indian art, Wiggins said.

Baker worked in many local shops as a sales clerk. She also married Gary Piper, and fished commercially with him. Both marriages ended in divorce.

"Suzi had her own rock and roll style, with lots of vintage pieces, accessories, hats, all completely unique to her," friend and cab owner Suzanne Ashe said. Baker would call her for a ride, and they'd end up spending hours together, drinking coffee, and bargain shopping. "She loved girly stuff; purple dragons, scented candles, dream catchers, and horror movies. I'd drive her to the Quick Shop where there's a better selection than the library."


Ashe said that after Baker learned she only had a few months to live, "We joked that I could tell her anything, because she was going to die and the secret would be safe, and she'd laugh and say 'I know.' We were co-conspirators."

"Suzi loved a good joke," was "a big hugger," and was stubborn and generous, friend Paul Nelson said. "If someone said they were broke, she'd give him her last cent." Baker entered hospice care in his home. "Suzi had an almost calmness about facing death. She seemed resolute," he said. "I am going to miss her for sure. I miss her already."

"Suzi blamed her cancer diagnosis on years of heavy drinking. Whether or not that is true medically, I don't know. Addiction is indiscriminate; it's sad, irrational and hard to understand. Suzi was quite proud of maintaining sobriety for the last few months of her life," Ashe said.

Baker leaves her daughter Lyric Wiggins; mother Jamie Kindel; father Don Peer; three sisters and one brother, and numerous other relatives. Lyric is planning a memorial service for the last week in December. The date is yet to be determined.

 
 

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