Sybil Baker, 89, of Hallowell, died peacefully on August 14, 2019, from old age and related complications. Sybil, Billie to her siblings, was the youngest of five children of Douglas and Elizabeth Baker.
She was born in England when her father worked for IT&T. The family was raised in New Jersey and at a beloved farm in East Middlebury, Vermont.
Sybil left home for London in 1947 to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Though Europe was in a depression following WWII, Sybil remembered the adventure and camaraderie that only a young person can find. She returned to New York in 1950 to pursue acting; she toured with and understudied for Katherine Hepburn in “As You Like It”, was in an acting class with Grace Kelly, and performed with James Dean in off-off Broadway productions. Her acting was interrupted by the birth of her daughter, Hilary Neckles, prompting her to switch gears and work as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. During her career she reached everyday people in small-city America through her work at papers such as the Niagara Falls Gazette and Danbury News Times, and then went on to reach national audiences through her work at the New York Daily News, San Francisco Examiner, Oakland Tribune, and Los Angeles Times.
She married Ray Hugos in 1970, gaining three sons and one daughter in the process. Their blended family lived in Brewster, New York. In 1975 she won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to study writing for a year at Stanford University. In 1978 she moved from the east coast to California, where she continued reporting and pursued writing short stories, novels, and screen plays. Several of her stories were published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
In 2003 she moved to Hallowell, Maine, to be closer to family. She was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick. In recent years she greatly enjoyed writing and performing with The Theater Project of Brunswick, Maine.
She is survived by five children, Hilary Neckles and husband George Lapointe of Hallowell, Michael Hugos and wife Venetia Stifler of Chicago, Andrew Hugos of Albany, NY, Daniel Hugos and partner Nancy Zeigler of Jim Thorpe, PA, Margaret (Hugos) Gold and husband Russ Gold of Rye, NY; and four grandchildren, Erica Gold, Caelan Lapointe, Dan Gold, and Wesley Lapointe. She also leaves a life-long friend, Barbara Bradshaw, from elementary school who she spoke with a few days before dying, lifting her spirits immensely, and many other close friends in Maine and around the country. She was predeceased by her husband Ray in 1977.
Sybil was a free spirit, feminist, war protestor, proud liberal, actor, writer, and loving, caring mother, mother in-law, and grandmother. Her optimism, genuine kindness and compassion, smile, and unwavering support will be dearly missed by all who knew her.
A Celebration of Life is being planned for a future date.