Charles E. Baker was born November 5, 1935, in Charleston, SC, to parents John A. Baker Sr. and Gertrude Tremblay Baker. He was raised in Columbia, where he graduated from Dreher High School in 1953. He graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina in 1956 with a B.S. degree in business administration. In 1959, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. His entry into the practice of law was delayed when his S.C. Air National Guard unit was deployed to Europe in one of the more heated moments of the Cold War. Following admission to the practice of law, he joined the Columbia law firm then known as Belser & Belser. Over the years the firm changed membership and names with the one constant being the name of Baker. At the time of his death the firm was Baker, Ravenel, & Bender, L.L.P.
During his years in practice, he was associated with many outstanding attorneys and public officials, including C. Heyward Belser, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the S.C. House of Representatives; Alexander M. Sanders Jr., former chief judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals and later president of the College of Charleston; and Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. Each of these lawyers and countless others relied on his intellect, experience and probing questions to sharpen their arguments and polish their presentations.
Baker was a legal scholar in addition to being a highly regarded practitioner, having been associate editor of the S.C. Law Quarterly; a member of the law school honor organization, Order of the Wig and Robe; and a collections advisor to the S.C. Supreme Court Library. He contributed a chapter on Actions in S.C. Jurisprudence. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and S.C. Supreme Court as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of S.C. and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Fifth Circuits.
Proving that one can have a life in addition to the law, he appeared on stage regularly in Town Theatre productions and sang in the Columbia Choral Society. He served on the board of governors for the Columbia Stage Society and the Columbia Music Festival Association, as president of the Evening Music Club, life member of the Columbia Drama Club, member of the Carolina Jazz Society and a Centurion of the University of South Carolina. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and sang in its choir for more than 50 years.
Charles E. Baker died on December 14, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Anita Heckle Baker, and two daughters, Anita T. Baker and Carol M. Baker.