He also spoke out against a 1998 referendum that would have allowed slot machines and opposed casino gambling, which he said led to higher crime and addiction.

"Casino gambling may have some short-term beneficial advantage, but in the long run, it's bad for Maryland," he stated in the Guidebook to Maryland Legislators, 1999-2002.

Mr. Baker was responsible for procuring the funds for a streetscape project for Elkton's Main Street that also included replacing a bridge over Big Elk Creek. In 2000, he was named Elkton Citizen of the Year.

He was defeated for re-election in 2002 by Republican E.J. Pipkin, in what The Sun reported as "the toughest fight of his political career."

He returned to practicing law on a somewhat limited basis and enjoyed playing golf. He also kept his contacts in Annapolis and enjoyed meeting with former staffers and legislative colleagues.

"Walter and his old staff would visit and gather for lunch," said his wife of 57 years, the former Jean Charsha. "It was a very full life."

A Mason, Mr. Baker was a 50-year member of Harmony Lodge and Nur Temple. He was a member of American Legion Post 135 in Perryville, VFW Post 6027 in North East, Elkton Rotary Club and the Moose and Elks.

He was also a member of the Chantilly Country Club in Rising Sun and the Newark Country Club in Newark, Del.

Mr. Baker was a member of Elkton United Methodist Church, 219 E. Main St., Elkton, where services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Also surviving are a son, Cecil County District Judge Stephen Baker of Elkton; a daughter, Nancy Brown of Elkton; three brothers, Raymond Baker of Garland, Texas, and George Baker and John Baker, both of Perryville; three sisters, Elinor Harris and Ethel Atkinson, both of Perryville, and Virginia Coleman of Gloucester Point, Va.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com