Josephine Louisa Redenius Baker, 93, of Wayne, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army, died Wednesday, Nov. 20, of cardiovascular disease at Sunrise of Paoli.

She was the widow of Lt. Gen. Milton G. Baker, founder and former superintendent of Valley Forge Military Academy and College. He died at the couple's Wayne home, "Crossed Sabers," in 1976 at age 80.

"It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our founder's wife. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family at this time," said William R. Floyd Jr., chairman of the academy's board of trustees.

Born in Oceanville, N.J., she received an honorary degree in the humanities from Temple University and earned a master's degree in journalism from American University. She went on to complete a master's degree in religious studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and a doctorate in divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

She served at churches in Miami Beach, Fla., and Norristown.

Rev. Baker enlisted in June 1943 as a private in the Women's Army Corps and trained as an officer. In August 1944, she was honorably discharged in order to accept an appointment as a second lieutenant in the Army.

She worked on the Manhattan Project and as a Pentagon counterintelligence agent at atomic installations throughout the United States and Canada.

At various times, she was assistant officer chief of staff of Armed Forces in the Far East, escort officer for NATO, and chief Women's Army Corps recruiting officer.

Rev. Baker received many awards, including the WAC Service Ribbon, American Theatre Award, Meritorious Service Unit Award, and the Army Commendation Ribbon.

She retired from active duty in May 1967 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

From 1967 to 1978, she was director of public relations and development for Valley Forge Military Academy. In her spare time, she gardened, painted, played the piano, and made stained glass windows.

"She was a leader, mentor, and friend," said her niece Joyce Morrow. "She was also an inspiration for young women."

Also surviving are a brother and sister; two nephews; and two other nieces.

A memorial service was held Monday, Dec. 2.

Donations may be made to Valley Forge Military Academy and College, 1001 Eagle Rd., Wayne, Pa. 19087.

bcook@phillynews.com

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