Arvel Herley Baker, 79, of Hickory, NC died Thursday, December 30, 2010 at Catawba Valley Medical Center following a month-long illness. Born in Wilkes County, NC on December 6, 1931, he was the son of the late Zee Baker and Callie Claire Sparks Baker. Arvel was a member of Mountain View Baptist Church. He retired as a Master Sergeant from the U.S. Army. He served in the Korean Conflict, served two tours in Vietnam, and was part of an expeditionary force in Lebanon and the Belgian Congo. During his service he received 14 combat stars, a Purple Heart, and 3 Bronze Stars. Arvel owned and operated Little River Hardware and Paint Store in Myrtle Beach for two years. He then worked for 13 years as a paint contractor in Burke and surrounding counties.Arvel is survived by his wife, Nell Gantt Baker of the home; children, Monte Ray Baker of Ashland, AL, Ronald Arvel Baker and wife, Karen, of Nebo, NC, Kenneth Lee Baker of Lincolnton, NC, Cynthia Gail Baker of Conover, NC, and Crystal Jill Holt and husband, Patrick, of Providence, RI; step-children, Dianne Wilson of Concord, NC and Carla Crawford and husband, Tommy, of Cornelius, NC; sisters, Madeline Smith and Evaline Pope, both of Lenoir, NC; a brother, Doyle Baker and wife, Christine, of Lenoir; twelve grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.In addition to his parents, Arvel was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Frances Walker Baker; a brother, Hugh Baker; and sisters, Lorene Woodring and Durette Clark.The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 1, 2011 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. Dr. Todd Smith officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow in Burke Memorial Park with military honors provided by the N.C. National Guard. Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain View Baptist Church, 4266 River Road, Hickory, NC 28602.

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