This will be the third workshop of the series. If you are interested in attending, the workshop will be held on Saturday, November 19th from 9:00am – noon. ( Registration begins at 8:45am)
Heart Stream Yoga is located at 3550 Airport Way, suite 201
Please see flyer below for more information.
Nancy was always up to something: creating, fixing or finding her own unique solution – even if she was the only one who could identify the problem.
Nancy was born in Washington, D.C., to Norman and Mariam Baker, and then grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later in White Plains, New York, with her two sisters, Patricia and Jane Baker.
Nancy always wanted to fly and got her first flight training and earned her pilot’s license in 1937 in the Civilian Pilot Training Program. After graduating with a business degree from Bergen Junior College in Hackensack, New Jersey, she worked as a welder at Piper Aircraft in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania, (1941-43).
Nancy joined the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) in 1943 for training in Sweetwater, Texas, where Ginny Wood was a roommate. After training, she was stationed in Wilmington, Delaware, for the Ferry Command where she met Celia Hunter.
Nancy was well known in Fairbanks as one of the WASPs who called Fairbanks home after World War II.
During the war, Nancy shuttled airplanes across the continental United States, flying planes such as the P-40, P-47, P-51 and P-63 direct from the factories to the coasts where they were shipped to Europe and Asia. The Thunderbolt and Mustangs were her favorites to fly.
Unfortunately, she never got to fly planes to Alaska as they would not allow WASPs to fly over foreign lands; Canada or Mexico. The WASPs were finally recognized as veterans in 1977.
In July 2009, Congress honored Nancy and the other surviving WASPs with the Congressional Gold Medal. She was dedicated to her fellow WASP veterans, keeping up with newsletters and attending numerous reunions.
In May 2014, Nancy joined other war veterans on an “Honor Flight” trip to Washington, D.C., to recognize their service and celebrate the new World War II Memorial.
Her good friends and fellow WASPs, Ginny Wood and Celia Hunter, brought Nancy to Fairbanks in 1950, where she could be her own person and follow her dreams. “To live where I could fly planes, and wear jeans and boots” was all she ever wanted as a young girl.
In Alaska, pursuing and shaping her independence was not only a possibility, but expected. She worked for Wien Alaska Airlines as a tour guide in Kotzebue. She then started several businesses including Eskimo Maid, a traditional kuspuk and parka making business where she contracted with Native women seamstresses in Wainwright; and Midnight Sun Shut–Eye, a comfortable sleep mask she designed and sold.
Nancy was one who saw what was needed in our community, believed in equality and worked to make a difference. She believed every family home should have a complete set of World Book Encyclopedias. Flying throughout the state of Alaska, she sold many of these treasured resources connecting everyone to the world.
Nancy’s mainstay business that is still thriving today was as the creator and keeper of the “Little Yellow Map.” One can find this map conveniently and strategically placed all over Fairbanks. It has saved many a newcomer and tourist from going the wrong way on Cushman Street or just helped them get around town. If you have ever given one of these maps to an out of town guest or have one in your glove box, you can thank Nancy.
Nancy had a few properties she rented. The dry cabin on Grenac Road gave many people their first taste of living in Alaska, and many stayed, making Fairbanks home. She seemed to seek out tenants with dogs. Her landlord philosophy was, “Tenants with dogs come home every night and take care of things. They are more reliable and they don’t move around as much.”
Over the years, Nancy was devoted to a wide assortment of cats and dogs. She may have lived alone, but she was never truly alone. They say there are dog people and cat people, but Nancy was truly both. The dogs got to ride around town and go for walks and the cats roosted on any number of perches and soft warm beds throughout the house.
Nancy was a vocal advocate and proud supporter of many causes that made Fairbanks the community it is today: KUAC, Girl Scouts, PFLAG, Animal Shelter, Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Rights, N.O.W, Compassion and Choice, Democrats, the Arts in Fairbanks, our local Food Bank, Friends of Creamer’s Field and many others.
One never had to ask Nancy where she stood on an issue -she would always tell it like it is or at least how it ought to be.
Nancy has left an indelible imprint at the national level – furthering equal rights and opportunities for women as pilots; at the local level with entrepreneurial enterprises and contributor to local agencies, and on the personal level with those whose lives she touched with her energy, vision and independent attitude. Good bye, dear friend. Fairbanks won’t be the same without you.
Please join in the celebration of Nancy Baker’s life at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at the Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home located at 2221 Eagan Street off Wilbur Street. Come share stories, learn more about this amazing woman and drink a toast to our dear friend. Wear your Eskimo Maid “parkey” if you are lucky enough to have one.
As Nancy would say, “Don’t waste money on damn flowers. Donate that money to the community nonprofit of your choice.”
One of the best Qigong students!
Nancy Baker, at 90 years, seems to be getting younger and healthier since she starting practicing Qigong.
Nancy started attending Qigong classes while I (Hisako) taught for the UAF Life Long Program (OLLI) in 2005. She has continued to attend during my current Lunchtime Qigong class at Mary Siah Recreation Center. During the first few years, Nancy struggled to come to class on time because she said she was a “night owl.” She stayed up until 3 a.m. and couldn’t get up in the morning. “I was doing the same things at night that people do during the day time.”
Within the last couple of the years, Nancy’s attitude had changed. Nancy sold her house and moved into a condo closer to the Mary Siah Rec Center. She traded in her old car for a brand new red car so she could come to the class more often. “(Qigong is) a great start to the day.” But, “Don’t call before 11 a.m.” To her, it was a great improvement. If someone calls and has no confidence to do Qigong exercise, I say, “If a 90 year old Nancy can do it, you can do it too!” “Oh, that’s right.” Nancy’s presence inspires other students, especially new students.
I think that Nancy’s secret of longevity is positive thinking. When Nancy showed up with a terrible black eye, she lightly said, “Oh, I was off balance and hit the corner of my kitchen counter. It’s OK, just black, hahaha….”
Except on very icy and slippery days, Nancy will come to the Qigong class no matter what.
One day during the class I looked at Nancy bending her back and with both hands almost touching the floor. I was surprised. “Have you ever bend your back so well before?” I asked to Nancy.
It’s not just that. With deep breathing exercises, Nancy’s sinus problem seems less and less (I’m not sure if she has noticed herself though) and her shoulder is much more flexible than in the beginning.
During the 1940’s, Nancy served as a pilot for Women Air force Service Pilots (WASP). “I always wanted to fly,” Nancy said. In April 2010, along with a fellow pilot in Fairbanks, Nancy was honored and presented with bronze medal replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal that was presented to 200 surviving WASPs in Washington D.C.
Congratulations Nancy and keep inspiring us!
Workshop in Fairbanks 8/10
Workshop in Juneau 4/11
Workshop in Homer 3/16