Obituary: Alice Lelia Baker Nov. 17, 1933 – Sept. 23, 2021

ALICE LELIA BAKER Nov. 17, 1933 – Sept. 23, 2021

Alice Lelia Baker, 87, passed away Sept. 23, 2021, at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage due to respiratory failure. Services will be held at a later date.

Alice was born Nov. 17, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Grove City College, Grove City, PA in 1951; she later earned her Bachelor of Engineering in 1978 from the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos. 

In 1951, Alice married James Joseph LaRotonda. To this union, four children were born, and the family lived in Toledo, OH, Denver, CO and Los Alamos, NM. Alice married Lara H. Baker Dec. 6, 1975, they made their home in Los Alamos, Derwood, MD and finally to Anchorage in 2004 after visiting since 1978. 

Like most women of her generation, Alice was raised primarily to be a homemaker. She gracefully expanded the notion of homemaker to include exemplary service to her community and to the security of our nation. She started her professional career as a data analyst with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM in 1968. She retired as an expert in information security and in the security of special nuclear materials, retiring in 1991 as the Director of the Department of Energy’s Center for Computer Security. She then continued her information-security work with private industry and US Government clients. 

Alice was a very active member of the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club including serving in various officer positions and managing communications for a number of Anchorage-area events. She was noted for her handcrafts, especially knitting and cross stitch. She was active in Knitters of the North in Anchorage. Earlier in her life, she was an amateur artist of some note.

Alice always provided a welcoming, comfortable, and safe home for her family. She managed this under the strain of combining two very disparate families and she always did so with grace, wit and calm. She did this while working full-time at very stressful jobs. She provided love, contentment, joy and support to her husband, Lara, over their nearly 46 years together. 

A family member wrote: “Alice, to me, was the example of a women who managed to have a reasonably balanced professional career and raise 4 or (7) good human beings. From the needlecrafts, amazing green thumb, crazy Christmas bar cookies, and feeding the birds in Los Alamos, Alice had many of the same characteristics that I loved in my own mother. But to those she also added a love of watching sports, wonderful photography, our shared loved of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, love of cats and a somewhat casual disregard for cooking that I also share. I entered adulthood with her in my mind of someone who had somehow managed to have a man she adored, was a wonderful friend to many, a good career she excelled at, and still managed to be well rounded and a good mother. I didn’t realize until well into my thirties that I always had those thoughts of her in my head as a role model.”

Alice is survived by her husband, Lara, Anchorage; sons, James J LaRotonda, Jr, Snellville, GA and David W. LaRotonda, Denver, CO; daughters, Lelia A. Warner, Edna, TX and Judy C. Bailey, Alba, TX; stepdaughters, Ranae B Schulte, Missoula, MT, and Deanna B Davis, Phoenix, AZ; daughters-in-law, Carol C. LaRotonda, Albuquerque, NM and Doli L. LaRotonda, Snellville, GA; sons-in-law, Darrell Davis, Phoenix, AZ and Mike Warner, Edna, TX; 12 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Heide Bishop, Coleville, UT. 

She is preceded in death by her brother, Walter Leslie Bishop and step-daughter, Susan Baker Fox.

Memorial donations can be made to the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 190192, Anchorage, AK 99519.