With tremendous sadness, we announce the passing of Sydney Roy Baker. Syd passed away at the Kiwanis Pavilion in Victoria, where he had resided for the past year, at age 88.
Syd was born in Romford, Essex, England on October 26, 1933. His early life was not a kind one and he was taken into the care of Barnardo’s children’s homes at the age of 2 years 4 months. He was proud to be a Barnardo boy and strongly believed that they gave him a solid foundation on which to build his life. The navy was chosen for him for his early career path, and he went to Watts Naval Training School at age 12 and into the Royal Navy at age 15. While on leave in Aberdeen, Scotland, he met Daisy Gray, his Daisy, and they married on August 20, 1954. Daisy’s family embraced him and made him one of their own.
Syd left the navy after 10 years of service and worked as a salesman and labourer. When he landed a job at the ICI plant in Stockton-on-Tees, England, Syd and Daisy were able to save some money and plan a move to Canada in search of a better life for their family. The move to Calgary in 1967 was all they could have hoped for and more. Fabulous friendships were made and they settled well. Syd worked for Petro Canada, both in Calgary and Moose Jaw until his early retirement in 1986.
Moving to Sidney, BC to retire, the good life was really in full swing. Syd kept himself busy tending his own beautiful garden and gardening for many other people too, hiking with a local group, entertaining and visiting a wonderful group of friends, and walking – always walking!
Syd decided in 1996 to trace his family history. After more than 60 years of separation and with the assistance of Barnardo’s and the Salvation Army, he discovered that he had four brothers and a sister. He renewed contact with his siblings and their families. He built very special bonds with his surviving brothers as well as his nieces and nephews. Because of his gratitude towards Barnardo’s, Syd decided to get involved with British Home Children Canada, helping many individuals to start their own searches for their lost family members. Syd, with great assistance from Daisy, presented information sessions to many local groups. A couple of notable invitations he received were from the Canadian government to attend a reception to mark The Year of the British Home Child in Ottawa in 2010 and another to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2016 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Barnardo’s.
Syd is survived by his loving daughter and son-in-law, Karen and David; his grandchildren whom he adored, Lindsey and Kent; and his precious great grandson, Brody. He was predeceased by his true love, wife Daisy in 2008, and by his daughter, Angela in 2018.
A life well lived, “Sydney from Sidney” had a smile for everyone and always a story to share. He was ready and willing to lend a helping hand to anyone. He will be remembered for his love of family, friends, and his kindness to all, and he will be greatly missed.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all of the staff at The Kiwanis Pavilion. Every single staff member treated Syd with care and compassion, and we always felt he was loved and valued.
Syd’s remains will be placed alongside Daisy’s during a short service held at the graveside at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, December 3 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in North Saanich.
Memorial donations may be made to The Kiwanis Pavilion, 3034 Cedar Hill Rd, Victoria, BC V8T 3J3, http://www.kiwanispavilion.ca/get-involved/donate ; The Alzheimer Society of British Columbia https://alzheimer.ca/bc/en ; Barnardo’s https://donate.barnardos.org.uk/ ; or a charity of your choice.