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Shirley Harris Baker

She was born in Camden, SC.
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Shirley Harris Baker is the youngest of ten children born to sharecroppers. Her parents, Andrew and Emma Robinson Harris, lived in Camden, South Carolina. She had eight brothers, Joe, George, Willie Leman, Clyburn, Edward, Billy, Richard and James and one sister, Elizabeth. Shirley and her husband, Ivor (Ike) Baker have been married for almost forty years. They have three beautiful children, Shellonnee (Harold) Chinn, Ivor II (Nancy) and Ivan (Kanisa). Her daughter has three talented girls, Alexis, Amanda and Amber. Their middle child, Ivor, has one son, Ivor III (Ikey) and one daughter, Morgan Emma. Their youngest son, Ivan is a newly wed and doesnââ?¬â?¢t have any children yet.

Shirleyââ?¬â?¢s family left South Carolina for Buffalo when she was one years old. She attended schools #75 and #6 and graduated from grammar school #17. She attended Fosdick Masten Girls Vocational, where she took the practical nursing program. During her senior year in high school, she worked part time as a nurseââ?¬â?¢s aide at Buffalo General Hospital. After graduation, she worked at the same hospital, as a practical nurse on an orthopedic and medical unit. After her marriage, Shirley took off a year before going back to Buffalo General as a surgical nurse. She held this position for seven years. She scrubbed, circulated, had head nurse duties and was charge nurse on weekends for 24-hour duty. She was also in charge of ear surgery, care of ear surgical instruments and ordering supplies. She also held conferences on ear surgery and taught ear surgical procedures.

After being out of school for about seven years, both Shirley and her husband decided to go to college. They wanted their children to have an incentive to seek higher education. They enrolled at the University at Buffalo in 1971. Shirley graduated Cum Laude as a graduate nurse after three years of study. Her husband also graduated in three years. All three of their children have college degrees, including two who have earned their Masterââ?¬â?¢s degrees.

Shirleyââ?¬â?¢s first job was as a School Nurse Teacher in the City of Tonawanda School District. As a result of this position, she had to take teaching certification courses at Dââ?¬â?¢Youville College. In 1978, Shirley re-entered UB for graduate school. She graduated as a clinical nurse specialist in ambulatory pediatrics and as a school nurse practitioner in school health. Her thesis for graduate school was entitled ââ?¬Å?An Intervention by a School Nurse Teacher Practitioner to Reduce Inappropriate Illnesses among Junior High School Students.ââ?¬

Shirley worked as a school nurse for 5 years and as a nurse practitioner for 22 years. She was the first African American in New York State to be a certified School Nurse Teacher, a School Nurse Practitioner and as a School Nurse Practitioner/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Her next and last employment was with Erie County Health Department. She retired in 2002, after over 40 years in the nursing profession.

Shirley has earned numerous awards, including, the Fosdick Masten Vocational High School (FMVHS) Nursing Award, FMVHS All High Honor Award and Whoââ?¬â?¢s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Her professional licenses include Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing, Temporary Teaching Certificate, Permanent Teaching Certification and certification in CRP, CPR Instructor, School Nurse Practitioner License and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner License.

Her professional memberships include Fosdick Masten VHS PN Alumni, State University at Buffalo Alumni, New York State Teachers Association and Black Nurseââ?¬â?¢s Association, NYSNA, National Association of Pediatric Nurses and New York Practitioner Association of Western New York.

Some of her volunteer involvement included; the Parent Board Member for Model Children Program, BUILD Organization Education Committee, BUILD Academy Policy Board member. She participated in Rubella skin testing inoculations and for initial Rubella inoculations of Buffalo Schools, completed an extensive paper on Sickle Cell Anemia and supplied a bibliography and material to the Jefferson Branch Library. She was the Medical Careers Club Faculty Advisor and youth outreach program and school mastery tutoring for Macedonia Church. She participated in the bi-monthly take a handicapped person to lunch and card ministry for the sick and shut-in. She also has done fund-raising for Leukemia, Cancer, March of Dimes and other organizations.

Shirley is a member of the Macedonia Baptist Church where she serves as a Deaconess, secretary of the Board and the secretary of the Womenââ?¬â?¢s Empowerment Ministries and chairperson of the Faith and Health Ministry. Her hobbies and special talents consist of caregiver, camping, traveling, sewing, cooking and enjoying her grandchildren. In 1981, she also wrote an unpublished work, ââ?¬Å?Life as told by Emma Robinson Harrisââ?¬, the story of her mother from childhood to becoming a great, great, great, grandmother.

Shirley says that she knows God has directed her path in life to have made all of these accomplishments and she owes all of her many blessing to Him.