Kevin McNeir and his mother, Edna McNeir Baker
Kevin McNeir and his mother, Edna McNeir Baker

The Washington Informer Family and Friends share our sorrow with our editor, D. Kevin McNeir, whose mother died on July 4 at the age of 91. Those familiar with the Informer and the NNPA know that Kevin has cared for his mother for the past 4½ years as her inevitable decline from Alzheimer’s disease has become more and more pronounced. We have all joined him and his family at our conventions in Florida, at holiday parties and summer picnics — even at many plays and concerts held throughout the District — and made sure to greet his mother — always smiling and happy to be with her only child and his WI family.

Following are photos and the obituary for the Baltimore-born educator who as Kevin reminds us, “Loved life, loved her family, loved being a soldier in the army of her Lord.”

Edna Lorraine Adkins McNeir Baker, 91, died Thursday, July 4, peacefully in the home she shared with her son in Silver Spring, Md., after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in Baltimore, she was a longtime resident of Williamsburg where she was an ardent community activist and dedicated member of First Baptist Church, serving on the deacon board and singing in the choir until moving to Silver Spring with her only child, “Nicky.” Her husband, Cleveland B. McNeir, preceded her in death in 1995.

After graduating from Bruton Heights School, she matriculated at Hampton University where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in 1947, later earning a Master of Education at Wayne State University in Detroit. She taught first and second grade at George Elementary School in Detroit for over 20 years until her retirement.

Edna Baker, our beloved matriarch and elder of the family, affectionately called “G-Mommy” and “Auntie,” showered love upon scores of youth, shared her love of the arts, provided financial support for those seeking higher education, faithfully contributed to her two church homes, St. Andrews AME (Detroit) and First Baptist, and was a lifetime member of both the NAACP and her sorority. No matter what the situation, she always trusted that God would see her and her loved ones through any storm. The Adkins homestead on Scotland Street served as the venue for many fun-filled dinners, celebrations and prayer meetings and was once a safe sleeping location for Blacks in the ’40s and ’50s when segregation denied them access to hotels. The youngest of three children, her sister (Frances Jones) and brother (James Adkins, Jr.) preceded her in death. She remained by their sides, as well as her mother’s, when sickness overcame them, taking up residence in the Adkins’ latter home on Harriet Tubman Drive.

After her niece Beverly Charity played “Cupid,” an arranged encounter at First Baptist led to her meeting Deacon Dr. James E. Baker, then a widower. The two quickly fell in love, married and traveled the globe, always taking her two grandchildren, Jasmine and Jared, for the summers as was a long family tradition. She remained a devoted helpmate to Dr. Baker, virtually inseparable, until his death in 2014.

Survivors include: her son, the Rev. D. Kevin McNeir; foster daughter, Pearl Moss; two grandchildren, Jasmine Brooks and Jared McNeir; two great-grandsons, Jordon and Jackson Brooks; son-in-law, Willie Brooks; daughter-in-law, Candace Jenkins; nephews/nieces Ronnie McNeir, David McNeir and Sharon McNeir; great-nieces/nephews Cheryl and Dereth Lindsey, Tracy and Ravette Bey, three goddaughters, Deirdre Accornero, Wanda Sanders and Pamela Christian and a host of others.

Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting’s Funeral Home (, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Va. 757-229-3011.

Condolences may be sent to The Washington Informer, 3117 Martin Luther King Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20032

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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