TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular former school teacher who died following a stroke.
Malcolm ‘Mac’ Baker spent more than 20 years teaching at the John Taylor High School, in Barton under Needwood, working his way up to head of science.
Since leaving the role during the mid-1980s, Mr Baker and his wife of 38 years Dot moved to Etwall to run a dog kennels, which gave him nearly as much joy as teaching.
Known affectionately as The Big Friendly Giant, as he towered above the rest of his family at 6ft 3ins, it was clear what people thought of him.
And it was not just family and friends who held him in such high regard.
Mrs Baker said: “We would go into town sometimes and see people he used to teach. Some of them were now married with children but they would always say ‘sir’ and ask him how he was.”
Although many former pupils liked him, Mrs Baker insisted he was no push over.
She said: “He was well-liked as a teacher but he could also be fairly strict. If you wanted to mess around then you would stand outside - he wouldn’t suffer fools gladly. He was strict but always fair.
“He loved teaching, he loved the children. When we were on holiday we would always have to find a phone box so he could see what grades the children had got in their exams.”
Mr Baker also leaves two children and three step-children, as well as four grandchildren and great grandson William.
He grew up in Swadlincote, gaining a degree at Reading University before embarking on a teaching career.
But after falling out of love with the profession, he spent the rest of his life running the kennels with his wife.
His funeral will be held on Friday.
Mrs Baker added: “He was kind and chatty - everybody seemed to talk to him.
“I hope his former pupils will remember their uncle Mac - The Big Friendly Giant.”