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Cleveland “Cleve” Warren Baker, 64, of Roanoke Rapids passed away Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at home.

Cleveland Warren Baker was born June 26, 1958 in Pitt County, North Carolina to the late Sidney Cleveland Baker and Joyce Ann Bennett Baker. 

As a child, he spent much of his time between school, where his father was an educator, and helping in various capacities on his grandfather’s tobacco farm. 

It’s here where his lifelong love of the Blues began—listening to the work songs and field hollers sung by the farmhands as they primed tobacco all the day long, and at impromptu musical gatherings they held weekend nights at the small country store his grandfather, D.E. Baker, also owned.

 He attended Roanoke Rapids High School, where he excelled in many extracurriculars and sports, including working at the local radio station, WCBT-AM 1230, beginning at age 15, and playing on the school’s football team. 

He graduated in 1976, and earned an athletic scholarship to North Carolina State University, where he continued as a fullback. 

 His first child, Jesse Warren Player Baker, was born March 7, 1979. After college, Cleve returned to the turntables as a disc jockey at the Roanoke Rapids nightclub Ick’s. That is where he met his wife, Sharon Leigh Porch. They wed May 6, 1984, and they welcomed their first daughter, Sarah Christian on September 11, 1985. Their second daughter and Cleve’s youngest child, Alison Lyndi, was born August 26, 1987. 

 He stepped away from the deejay business and became a veritable jack of all trades over the course of many years—owning a logging company, opening a restaurant with his wife, serving in law enforcement, working pit crew in NASCAR’s Busch Series, learning the butchering craft, advancing as a power plant supervisor and even owning a liquor store. In 2009, he returned to a career in radio as a host for First Media Radio in Weldon, NC, where he co-hosted ‘Good Morning Lake Country’ on WPTM for many years with his good friend Charlie Beaver as ‘Beaver and The Bull’ as well as with friend Karen Hall, hosted the ‘Afternoon Bullride’ weekday afternoon show, and the weekly Prime Country USA Hot Country Countdown. 

On March 26, 2010, Cleve launched his passion project, Confessing the Blues—a 3-hour weekly Roadhouse radio show that played the best in the contemporary Blues genre, with a special focus on rising talent. Candid artist interviews added a dynamic level to the show, and Cleve was a ceaseless champion for up-and-coming musicians—giving many artists airtime very early in their careers. The show was internationally syndicated, playing on over 50 stations in 10 countries worldwide, and enjoyed over 500 episodes in the span of its 11 year run.

 Cleve delighted in the relationships he cultivated as a radio man, and he found success not only in the studio, but as an emcee and master of ceremonies for many years at the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas, NV, the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN, and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, among other regional shows and appearances.

 He spent his last years enjoying the company of his wife, Sharon, his family, and his many friends, primarily at their coastal residence in Indian Beach, NC. He loved collecting bourbon and whiskey, woodworking with materials ranging from bourbon barrels to live-edge wood, cooking, and of course regaling the neighborhood with stories and plenty of Blues music. 

He often took photographs of the Crystal Coast sunsets and mused at his situation, “better than I deserve”.

Cleve is survived by his loving wife, Sharon Baker; his children, Jesse Warren Player Baker and his wife Traci, Sarah Christian Baker and her partner Richard Chandler, and Alison Lyndi Baker and her fiancé Dane Kuroski; his grandchildren, Alyssa Baker, Sean Baker, Tristan Balenger and Bennett Baker.

A celebration of Cleve’s life will be held at 3:00 P.M. Sunday, March 12, 2023, in the chapel of Hockaday Funeral and Cremation Service. The family will receive friends from 2:00 - 3:00 P.M. Sunday prior to the service.

Online condolences may be sent to this link