Rodney John Baker, Sr.

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Birth: Aug. 23, 1950, Collinsville, DeKalb County, Alabama
Death: Oct. 5, 2002, Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama
Age: 52

Rodney John Baker, Sr., was born on Aug. 23, 1950 in Alabama.

Rodney married Sandra Kay Riebold [born Dec. 16, 1950 and died Jun. 27, 2002 as Sandra Kay (Riebold) (Baker) (Fletcher) Keese:] on Aug. 23, 1972 and they divorced on Jan. 22, 1979. They had a child together during their marriage, a son they named Rodney John "R. J." Baker, Jr.

Rodney had a career in the US Marines for many years, promoted to non-commissioned officer. Although he was gay, he was necessarily closeted while in the Marines. He was the lover/partner/roommate to another gay Marine named Kirby Lavoy Thompson (went by Lavoy; stationed nearby at Marine Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia; but that relationship ended when Lavoy was honorably discharged from the Marines and relocated for a new job in San Francisco, California, in the early 1980s. Rodney continued in the Marines. Later, in the mid-1980s, another male Marine Rodney had sex with only once felt guilty about it and turned himself and Rodney in to his own commanding officer and then testified against Rodney. Rodney was convicted and imprisoned for two years in the maximum security military "barracks" penal facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for essentially being gay. He was then immediately dishonorably discharged.

U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 about Rodney Baker
Name: Rodney Baker
Birth Date: 23 Aug 1950
Death Date: 5 Oct 2002
Branch 1: M
Enlistment Date 1: 25 Mar 1981 [actually 25 Mar 1971]
Release Date 1: 11 Feb 1982
Branch 2: M
Enlistment Date 2: 12 Feb 1982
Release Date 2: 24 Sep 1987

After his discharge, Rodney moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where he got a job as the manager of a tuxedo rental shop. He also met and became life partners there with Robbie Dale "Rob" Atchley [ -- born Apr. 9, 1968 and died Dec. 1, 1992]. Rob, although quite young, was the manager of a K-Mart in Huntsville. Both were HIV+. Rob died of AIDS-related complications on Dec. 1, 1992, at age 24. [Almost 10 years later, Rodney also died of an AIDS-defining illness, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, on Sep. 5, 2002, at age 52.]

Some time after Rob's death, Rodney began what he thought was another long-term relationship with a man named "Sam" from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). However, "Sam" became homesick and felt guilt-ridden because of his anti-gay Islamic religion, and therefore left Rodney to go back to the U.A.E. AFter some time there, "Sam" changed his mind and returned to the US and wanted to get back together with Rodney, but Rodney refused to have anything further to do with him.

In the late 1990s, Rodney developed cancer, a non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and died of it on Sep. 5, 2002. At the time, it was believed he had never progressed to full-blown AIDS. However, under current definitions of having AIDS, non-Hodgkins lymphoma -- a common disease of those with long-term HIV -- is now AIDS-defining. So, in hindsight, his cancer was an AIDS-related condition and meant he had and died from full-blown AIDS

Rodney John Baker Sr. was survived by his close sister Johnnie Baker Justice [] of Collinsville, Alabama, Johnnie's husband and Rodney's brother-in-law Steven Alan Justice Sr. [ &], and his son Rodney John "R. J." Baker Jr.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 about Rodney J. Baker
Name: Rodney J. Baker
SSN: 419-70-7810
BORN: 23 Aug 1950
Died: 5 Oct 2002
State (Year) SSN issued: Alabama (1965)

Family links:

Biological: ?
Adoptive: Mr. and Mrs. Baker [only Rodneys adoptive sister -- Johnnie Baker Justice -- knows, but she has not as yet responded to requests for information.]

Sandra Kay (Riebold) (Baker) (Fletcher) Keese:
Kirby LAVOY Thompson:
Robbie Dale Atchley:
"Sam": ?

Rodney John Baker Jr.:

Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.

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