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Daughter who died in Alps tragedy ‘is with the Lord … no question’

SEMINOLE, Fla. (BP)–The daughter of a Florida Baptist couple was among the 159 people killed Nov. 11 when a cable car in the Austrian Alps caught fire in a mountain tunnel.

Carrie Lynn Baker, 23, was the daughter of Dick and Carol Baker of Seminole, Fla. Her father is the interim minister of music at Azalea Baptist Church, St. Petersburg, and administrator of Community Christian School in Largo since 1991. Her mother is the head librarian at Northside Christian School in St. Petersburg.

Calling home the day before the accident, Dick Baker told the St. Petersburg Times, “She told her mother that this is the happiest time of her life.”

Not only was she excited about the adventure of her first ski trip, but she had a good job as a second lieutenant and paratrooper in the Army stationed in Germany, a boyfriend and a strong faith in God. Also among the eight Americans killed in the accident was her boyfriend, Erich R. Kern, 25, an Army first lieutenant from Buffalo, N.Y. The eight Americans were members of a military-affiliated ski club on a four-day Veterans Day holiday.

Baker was a 1999 distinguished military graduate at Auburn University in Alabama.

“She was a preacher’s kid,” Dick Baker told the St. Petersburg Times, adding that she had never rebelled as some teenagers do. “She was always a joy,” he said. “She always brought joy to our home and everywhere she went. God entrusted us to raise her. She was never ours. So we’ll just have to trust God.”

Carol Baker told the newspaper her faith will help get her in the loss of her daughter. “I know she is with the Lord,” she said. “There is no question.”

Dick Baker recounted how his daughter, as a high school senior in 1994 and 1995, juggled band practices and commitments with ROTC responsibilities. Her dedication resulted in a four-year scholarship, two years at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and two years at Auburn.

Their daughter was scheduled to return home in January to celebrate Christmas. Her last trip home was in August when she surprised her father for his 50th birthday, the Times reported.

On Sunday morning, Nov. 12, after returning home from a dedication ceremony for the 7-month-old son of their other daughter, the Bakers were visited by an Army colonel who told them their daughter likely had perished in the accident, the newspaper reported.

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