Johnny Baker, 62, passed away on October 12, 2020 of COVID-19. Johnny was born on May 16, 1958, in Savannah, GA, to Gladys McCain and John Henry Baker, Jr. Johnny’s smile radiated upon so many people throughout his life in Savannah, New Orleans and the thousands of nautical miles he spent navigating his life’s adventures.
He embarked on his culinary journey at a young age, helping his Grandmother, Daisy Baker, prepare treats for the family from her porch overlooking the Vernon River. He attended Christ School in Arden, NC where he worked in a kitchen that fed more than 100 people each meal. He later worked in a country club kitchen on New Orleans' famed River Road - the same road where ancient Creole cooks used black iron frying pans, stirred gumbo and roux, and perfected the art of marrying grits with evening dinners.
He returned to Savannah in 1985 and worked in the family’s business, Warno-Cam Paint Company. He eventually launched his catering business that would expand and ultimately see him open Queeny’s To Go Go, bar • food, coffee • deli and The Savannah Cheese Straw Company with his longtime business partner, Paula Letcher. Winning multiple People’s Choice Awards at the Taste of Savannah, Johnny and his Low Country cuisine has been featured on TLC, The Discovery Channel, HGTV, Public Television and QVC.
He was a member of several organizations and clubs, including Rotary International, the Savannah Yacht Club, Cotillion Club and St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Isle of Hope.
An avid fundraiser for many charities, Johnny is remembered by many as having a “kind spirit, generous heart, and always a perfect portion of mischief that made him fun!” His passion for Savannah and the culinary arts was second only to his love of cruising the waterways and entertaining family and friends aboard his boat, “Happy Bottom”, an ode to his late, darling mother Gladys, fondly known as “Happy”.
Johnny always will be remembered by his countless friends all over the world and the compassion he always shared for anyone in need.
Johnny is survived by his sister, Amy Edwards Baker and her life partner Debbie Baldridge, his niece Daisy Eleanor Ashburn, former spouse and friend, Eleanor Foster and his beloved friend and business partner, Paula Letcher.
A celebration of life is planned for a time and place that will ensure everyone will be able to safely gather and share many fond, and we’re sure, hilarious memories. In the meantime, remember Johnny, share your stories and laugh out loud. He would want that.
The family would like to thank the amazing and heroic team of doctors, nurses and caregivers at Candler Hospital, Savannah ICU. They fought so very hard for his recovery. They are a true dream team, who will forever be a part of our family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to: “The Greatest Need - COVID-19 Support” at https://www.sjchs.org/foundations/thegreatestneed-covid19support or to: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Isle of Hope, 2 St. Thomas Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406.
He will be greatly missed by all those people he touched with his kindness and generousity. Much love, Sir.
- Daniel Cordle, Hinesville, Ga
so saddened to read this. Johnny was one of the good ones! Kind big-hearted wonderful sense of humor and an absolute joy to be around. He will be missed by so many people. My heart felt condolences to the family.
- Luana Sands, Savannah, Ga
Kathryn & I are very sorry to hear of Johnny's passing. Our prayers go out to his sister and all family and friends. RIP my friend.
- Frank & Kathryn Murray, Savannah, Georgia
Everyone will miss this great guy. He will always be remembered for cheering everyone up.
- Mitch &LizPalles, Savannah , Ga
The good die young and are ever forgotten. ❤️
- Barbara Ictor, Savannah, Gergia
Johnny was a great guy, friend and cook. Always enjoyed his easy style. Hope someone at Coffee-Deli has the egg salad recipe. Godspeed my friend from Suzanne and me.
- Bobby and Suzanne Everette, Savannah, Ga
Johnny was a kind and thoughtful guy and a very talented chef. We will miss him. Frances Aggett Woodward & Tim O'Hayer
- Frances Aggett Woodward, Savannah, GA
I am so shocked and saddened to learn of Johnny’s death. He was a great friend to me and so many others. The best. He leaves a void in us. Albert Wall
- Albert Wall, Savannah , Georgia
The world is a sadder place without Johnny. He leaves a void that no one could ever replace and our hearts and souls are broken.
- Anne Johnson Bone, Savannah, GA
To Johnny's sister and niece, Paula and his bar.food coffee. deli family, the worst news in a year where we did not think it could get worse. Johnny was a loving person who made Savannah a better place. It will take a long time to adjust to not seeing him in Habersham Village, where he was a very bright light. My deepest condolences. Take solace in the knowledge that he was truly loved by many.
- Jane Levy, Savannah, GA
Johnny was a dear caring friend. He always welcomed everyone into his world. Through the years he always paid special attention to my mentally challenged daughter Mollie. She was so sad! She loved Johnny as I did. He will be missed and remain in our thoughts for ever.
- Pat and TC Powers, Savannah, Ga
We grew up near the Bakers on the IOH. Johnny was a good guy. Rest in peace.
- Nick Harty, Savannah, GA
So many good times working side by side on the magnolia.a friend for years.talented chef,boat captain and funny man.so many will miss his big smile.rest in peace,me sympathy to his sister and all who will miss him
- Deborah munyas, Savannah, Ga
To Johnny’s family. What a fun a talented man! We would cook with Johnny at Wednesday night suppers at the Church. He was a great cook and always fun to be around. May he Rest In Peace. Love to his family and friends, Beth and Bill Wall
- Beth Wall, Savannah, Ga.
Rest In Peace, Johnny. You will be missed.
- , Savannah , GA
Johnny was a good hearted friend to all that loved and knew him. Will be greatly missed.❤️
- Leslie Armstrong-Davidson, Savannah, Georgia
- Leslie Armstrong- Davidson, Savannah, GA
It was a blessing to have known him. Sure he has gone on to a better place. Thoughts and prayers in sympathy for the family he has left behind.
- Diane N VanWagner, Savannah, GA
Johnny and I were on the Rotary Group Study Exchange Team to Far East Russia in 1998. Johnny was a fun and adventurous guy, a marvelous one to have on the team. His death saddens me greatly. It makes the pandemic very personal.
- Albert Phillips Reichert, Jr, Macon, GA
We will always remember Johnny. He will be greatly missed. He was kind, big hearted and made every party memorable.
- Jenny and Jim White, Savannah, GA
I knew Johnny as a wonderful child. I will always have such pleasant memories eating crab on the dock with his entire family. Now John, Sr, Gladys and John, Jr can sail off into the sunset.
- Jenny White, Savannah, Georgia
Johnny, was a true old soul. He brought out the best in everyone he touched with his quick smile and easy laugh. He will be so missed, but heaven has gained a great, great man.
- Bonnie Brickell Welch, Austin, TX
I’m so sorry that Savannah has lost one of its treasures. My condolences to his family.
- Bessie Mercer Halsey, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Johnny, you were one in a million. I’m happy I had the pleasure of knowing you. You will be missed.
- Adrienne Buck, Savannah, Georgia
My love and prays, I'm sending to this wonderful family . RIP..Sweet and Jolly Johnny
- , St. Helena island , Sc
The life of every party. A man with a heart as big as the sky. May you have eternal peace.
- Rand Romaine, Columbia, SC
I am very sad to hear Johnny passed away. He was a great brother, uncle and friend. Always happy when I saw him. I am glad to know him and will miss seeing him when I visit Bar•Food or Coffe•Deli. Amy and Daisy...my heartfelt condolences go to you both, praying that GOD is with you in this most difficult time to give you strength through this most difficult time. Love to you both, Mary
- Mary Highsmith Wilson, Savannah, GA
Amy and Daisy, My sweetest condolences to you both I saw Johnny last in March. He has always had a special place in my heart. From our high school years to now it was always fun to run into him. Daisy he always loved to tell me what you were doing! What a fantastic man! Love, Sarah Russo Fogarty
- Sarah Russo Family, Savannah, Ga
We were deeply saddened to hear that Johnny passed and are so very sorry for your loss. Our paths crossed Johnny’s only briefly when he and our mutual friend Carter stayed with us here in Greece several years ago but he was and is larger than life - we had a blast and so enjoyed getting to know him - and we will always remember him well. Our thoughts are with you all.
- Allison Balogh , Athens, Greece
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
- Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.