Christa Beverly Baker, the wife of former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, died Saturday after “fighting illness with grace and grit,” her husband said. She was 61.
“Today I lost the love of my life, my best friend, and the source of all my strength. She was our rock - the absolutely best mother to my kids and wife to me. She spent her life fighting injustice, inequities and, for the last decade, illness with grace and grit,” Mr. Baker said in a tweet.
Messages of condolence and support poured in on social media for the family of Mrs. Baker, who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at the age of 48, according to a post on her husband’s consulting firm.
She and her husband had three children. Her family decided to open up about her diagnosis in 2012 and take her everywhere, from church to other events.
"So many people who I would see daily in their county jobs came up to me and said, 'Thank you for coming out, Mr. Baker. Let me tell you about my story," Mr. Baker told News4 in 2019. “It's part of a whole movement we call dementia-friendly, and that's really about letting people with loved ones suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's and anyone else know that they can come to church, visit museums and do the things they normally would do."
The couple met at Howard University. Both studied law and were married 34 years.
"Once we started dating, she was the most dominant force in my life," he said.
Mr. Baker described his late wife in a blog post as a woman who “lights up any room,” and said he fell in love with her on their first official date to a mostly Mozart concert at the Kennedy Center.
Mrs. Baker worked as a civil rights lawyer and was a well-known presence in Prince George’s County, the Washington Post wrote in 2012.