Rafiki Bakari (formerly known as Ralph Baker) was born in Macon, Georgia on October 20, 1949 to William and Corene Baker. Rafiki Bakari, 73, of Cleveland, Ohio, passed away on Thursday, May 11, 2023. Rafiki is predeceased by his father, William Baker, his mother, Corene Neal Baker Johnson, and his older brother, John Russell Baker.
Rafiki graduated from Glenville High School in 1969 and joined the United States Air Force on February 25, 1969 and was discharged December 15, 1972. Rafiki then went on to work for the United States Post Office as well as the Reginal Transit Agency (RTA).
Rafiki joined Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in October 1995. Rafiki was committed to his church. He was a part of the Church Choir, he started a not-for-profit prison ministry through the Church called RE-Entry Outreach, and he was a part of the AA group “Free at Last” that was hosted by Olivet. Rafiki started his journey with AA) on June 29, 2000, next month would have made his 23rd year.
Rafiki attended Cleveland State University. During his time there He received his Bachelor’s in Urban Services in 2005 and his Master’s in Social Work in 2009. Rafiki was passionate about serving the African American/Black Community and he believed in second chances.
Rafiki was married to Tia Fletcher and shortly after became a father to his second child, King Fletcher, also known as, Jabari Baha Badee Bakari. Once Jabari entered Rafiki’s life, they became inseparable. Rafiki became determined to do his best for his son, every decision Rafiki made was to ensure that his son knew that he was loved and cared for.
He leaves to cherish his memory a daughter Mildred (Millie) Tate, a son, Jabari Baha Badee Bakari, sisters Mary Baker and Doris Smith, brother Lynn Johnson, a granddaughter, Taylor, and a host of relatives and friends.
Scriptures: Genesis 1:1; Matthew 1:17
Speaker: Herbert Thurman
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