We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Asheville Mortuary Services
Katharine Drayton Baker Aldridge, resident of Deerfield Episcopal Center in Asheville, NC died November 15, 2021. Born in 1926 in Plainfield, NJ, Katharine was daughter of the late Clifford M. Baker and Margaret Drayton Baker. She is preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Blan Coolidge Aldridge, and her brother, Clifford M. Baker, Jr. She was also deeply affected by the loss of two of her brothers in WWII, John Drayton Baker, and Robert Livingston Baker.
Katharine “Kay” is survived by her children Leslie (Lee Smith) of Maryland, Robert (Paula) of Montclair, NJ, Chris (Sandra) of Foscoe, NC, four grandchildren, Darcy, Scott, Drayton and Micaela, and one great-grandchild, Romola.
Kay was graduated from University of PA with a BS in Occupational Therapy. It was while working as an Occupational Therapist at the VA hospital in Asheville, NC that she met and married Blan C. Aldridge of Foscoe, NC. Kay went on to earn an MA in Guidance and Counseling at Rider University and an MSW at the Rutgers University School of Social Work.
While pursuing her post-graduate degrees in New Jersey, Kay was involved in her childrens’ own academic and athletic activities. She was an active member in the Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ. Kay was engaged in a number of civic activities and causes, including Family Service Agency of Princeton, Princeton Nursery School and Princeton United Way. She founded and managed the Princeton Hotline in the 1960s.
Kay and husband, Blan, established a Marriage and Family Therapy practice in Yancey County, NC following two years training in Family Therapy in Princeton, NJ. Kay also volunteered in several human services organizations in Burnsville, serving as a director of United Way, Reconciliation House and Yancey County Group Home. She served as a volunteer social worker with Hospice of Yancey County for eight years and was on the Board of Trustees at Warren Wilson College for nine years. Kay continued her volunteer service at Deerfield, serving on the Residents’ Council and in the Health Unit as friend and advocate.
Kay enjoyed tennis from childhood until her late 70s and considered tennis friends among some of her closest through the years. She also enjoyed loom weaving and handwork. Kay grew up with classical music, particularly Wagner and Chopin, and played piano as a girl. As a mother, she encouraged her children and later her grandchildren to play and appreciate music, a gift they have all enjoyed throughout their lives. Kay also enjoyed choral singing, and attending concerts. She played the auto harp in later years, and she and Blan accompanied the St. Giles Singers, leading sing-a-longs for residents in the Health Unit at Deerfield.
Most of all, in addition to enjoying her loving children, grandchildren and great-grandchild, Kay loved being involved with and helping people. Kay asked that no flowers be given in her name. If desired, memorial gifts may be made to causes that serve human need. The family will announce plans for a memorial service at a later time when it is safer to gather.