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Boundary County loses a legend: Alva Baker, 1933 ~ 2022

July 14, 2022

By Mike Weland

Peach and Alva Baker
Alva Vernon Baker, 89, died Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at his home, surround by his family. He was born on March 13, 1933, in Porthill, the son of Alfred and Ora Huff Baker. Alva spent over six decades as a Boy Scout or Scout Master in Bonners Ferry, before handing over the reins to Lee Colson in 2011. Over those years, he said at the time, he met a lot of outstanding young men and watched them grow up to excel in a wide array of fields.

"The biggest reward is when you're sitting at home and someone knocks on the door, and it's one of those Boy Scouts you helped years ago come to reminisce," Alva said.

He was delivered, coincidently, by the same doctor who would deliver the little girl, Peach, who would become his wife in 1962, as well as their oldest son, Ken.

In 1947 he joined the Cub Scouts, moved up into the Boy Scouts and earned Scouting's highest rank, Eagle, on May 7, 1951. He was drafted into the Army in 1953, and served in Germany until being honorably discharged in 1955 and returning home.

He became a Scout Master in Troop 114 in 1957, but took a less active role after he and Peach started their family. When their son Ken grew old enough, he, too went into the Cub Scouts, and that's when Alva went into scouting full bore, serving for awhile as a Cub Master, Webelos Master and Assistant Scout Master simultaneously.

In 1974, he was appointed Scout Master, even while working as a sawyer in local mills for 45 years and farming in the 16 years after he "retired."

Both Ken and his younger brother, Darwin, became Eagle Scouts, Ken in 1978, Darwin in 1979.

"At heart, he's still a kid," Peach said. "I don't know what we'll do if he ever grows up!"

"I've been very lucky," Alva said. "The best kids in the world seem to gravitate into the Boy Scouts, and I've met some awfully great people through the years."

He  took young men from Boundary County to Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d'Alene for 40 years, and went on countless treks with his Scouts through some of the most remote places in Boundary County, often treks of up to 100 miles.

"We had some great times," he said.

He never referred to them as "boys," saying, "if you treat them like boys, they'll act like boys. Treat them like young men, and they act like young men."

Reading through a list of "young men" who reached Eagle rank, he took pride in their successes in Scouting and beyond, in business and real estate to working for NASA and for the federal government.

You never heard much about what Alva and Peach contributed to Boy Scouting in Boundary County all those many years; Alva steadfastly refused interviews for decades before he and Peach sat down with me in November, 2011, just before they attended the first Troop 114 Eagle Court of Honor in decades at which Alva didn't serve as master of ceremonies, but was himself a guest of honor.

"It's about young men, not me," he said. "Scouting gives them a solid foundation, and I am glad I was allowed to play a role."

Services are pending with Bonners Ferry Funeral Home entrusted with the arrangements.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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