Innocence lost

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

At 85-years old and having lived a full life, it perhaps would not be shocking news to learn that a loved one or friend had passed away peacefully in their sleep.

After living a rewarding life – full of so many loving memories with family and building a small army of friends – Ruby Martin Baker’s presence on this Earth unfortunately did not end as most would hope.

That sweet lady, one who never had anything bad to say about anyone and wouldn’t harm a flea, died at the hands of a cold-blooded killer in the early morning hours of this past Sunday.

I refuse to use this weekly space to rant and rave against the person who pulled the trigger. It’s not my place to judge….that will be left to a jury of his (or her) peers and then to a much higher power. The only thing I will mention is that I would not want to be in his (or her) shoes when they eventually arrive at the Pearly Gates and beckon God for admission to Heaven.

What I will dedicate this space for is to inform the killer of is the person whose life you decided to take.

If robbery was indeed your motive, if you really needed what an 85-year-old woman had collected over a lifetime, all you had to do was ask Miss Ruby. She was the type of person willing to help anyone and everyone.

If you were cold and hungry, she would have fixed you a hot bowl of soup.

If you needed money, she would have given you a job in and around her comfortable home on Parker Avenue in Ahoskie and paid you for those services rendered.

If you were struggling to find balance in your life – due to depression or substance abuse – she would have pulled out her Bible and used God’s words to heal your emotional wounds.

All you had to do was ask.

Instead, you chose to resort to violence. And in that brief fit of rage, you not only ended the life of one of God’s beautiful children, but have forever scarred the lives of her family and friends.

Ruby Martin Baker and her now late husband, William, raised three daughters and one son. Those children are now adults and each inherited the kind, loving traits of their parents.

She (and Mr. William) proudly watched her family grow – bouncing grandchildren, and later great grandchildren on her knee….all while passing down valuable lessons of life that they, like her children, will benefit from as they mature into adults. Those grandchildren and the great grandchildren worshiped the ground Miss Ruby walked upon.

And speaking of worship, Sunday mornings would find Miss Ruby at church, giving praise to God for all the blessings she had in life.

And, then, there is Snoopy, her full-time companion. That Dachshund brought joy to Miss Ruby’s heart, and helping to fill a void left by the death of Mr. William. When the weather was pleasant, the two could be found taking a morning stroll, with Snoopy on his leash and Miss Ruby pausing so often to greet friends along her route. I’m proud to say that we here at Roanoke-Chowan Publications were counted among her many friends. We would either be outside and chat with Miss Ruby or she would grace us with her presence inside as she (and Snoopy) would pop in our front door just to simply bid us good morning.

When the trigger was pulled early Sunday morning, the person behind that weapon not only took the life of Ruby Martin Baker, they also broke our hearts. They stole our innocence as we will now cast a concerned eye at any stranger we meet, and will feel unsafe within our homes, despite deadbolts and alarm systems.

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the death of my mother from natural causes. She and Miss Ruby were the same age; both sweet Southern ladies who would have gone out of their way to help someone in need. If given the choice, I would have gladly accepted Miss Ruby as my second mom….that’s how much I loved and adored her. Now she’s gone, and not by her own accord or the way we wanted to see her full, rich life come to an end.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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