The family of Mr. John Walter Baier, 83, are sad to announce that he passed away peacefully on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, at his daughter’s home in Fredericksburg, Va. John was born May 6, 1937, in Newark, N.J., and grew up in Irvington and Springfield, N.J.
Mr. Baier lived an incredibly full and meaningful life. As a teenager, he took flying lessons and earned his pilot’s license, and he ended up being able to fly a plane before he could even drive a car. John enjoyed flying so much, he joined the U.S. Air Force for four years and became an air traffic controller at MacDill Air Force Base.
After his time with the military, John moved back to New Jersey to work as an air traffic controller at Newark and JFK Airports. During this time, John was married and had two daughters, Debbie and Pattie. In 1968, John was promoted and moved with his family to the D.C. area until his retirement as acting FAA division chief in 1986. John’s career with the FAA allowed him to travel often, which he greatly enjoyed. He was also directly involved in the FAA’s project to create the standard flight paths along the East Coast that are still used to this day.
In 1981, John married his now late wife, Juanita M. Baier. In 1998, they moved to North Port, Fla., where they enjoyed spending time with friends and visiting their favorite restaurant, The Olde World.
John Baier had a generous spirit and love of helping others. He engaged in various kinds of volunteer work through his church, including teaching adults to read and bussing children to school. He was also a dedicated member of the local Moose Lodge. John became a Mason and received his 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite in Alexandria, Va. As a Shriner, he was able to be very involved in serving others, which made him very happy and fulfilled.
This generous, selfless man was a devoted husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather. For nearly two decades, he and his wife, Juanita, hosted annual family reunions at their home in Chincoteague, to keep their family connected. Grandchildren spent many happy summers at their home, with fond memories of crabbing off their dock, going to the beach, and playing in the yard. John’s patience and love for his family–not to mention his wonderful sense of humor–will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his daughters, Debra and husband, Kurt Shellhammer, Patricia and husband, Kevin Young; nephew, Daniel Williams, and wife, Gina, and their daughter, Sheana; grandchildren, Lindsey Shellhammer-Pennington, Patrick Young, Nathan Shellhammer, Joseph Young, and Matthew Young; great-grandchildren, Bruce Pennington and Madelynn Pennington.
John Baier was preceded in death by his wife, Juanita M. Baier; parents, Blanche M. and John Baier; and his brother, Arthur Baier.
A service will be held at a later date on Chincoteague Island. The date will be announced in the coming months.