My career path was inevitable. I was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Perry Baker and Roberta Cata. My father was attending Wichita State University on a football scholarship. He and my mother married during college. I was born during his senior year.
After my father graduated from college, we moved to NE Oklahoma, where I spent my childhood. My paternal grandfather, Grandpa Dover, was a developer and builder. My maternal grandfather, Grandpa Cata, was a talented cabinet maker. My father was an educator and was also a very skilled remodeler. He even built some new homes. I worked along side my father (and grandfathers). I participated in the building process from the breaking of the ground to the “turning of the key” completion of the home. The experience and vast knowledge of the process of constructing a home, from beginning to end, laid a solid foundation to further prepare me for and propel me into my career. We were privileged to have many satisfied customers during this time.
After I graduated from high school, I attended Oklahoma State University, Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. I pursued studies in Construction Industries.
After the completion of my time/degree in Okmulgee, I returned to the Fairland/Miami Oklahoma area. I started a family and continued my career in the construction field. It was during this time that I began to work on projects that focused on modernizing low-income Indian homes. Our focus was to make their homes not only more energy efficient and easier to maintain, but also to be handicapped accessible, known as “Aging in Place”, if needed. I really enjoyed assisting this population in making their homes a safer and easier to maintain environment in which to raise their family.
I was hired as the Director of Modernization and Construction for the Housing Authority of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma. This was an enjoyable and meaningful time in my journey. Not only were we managing and remodeling the low-rent housing projects in Fairland, Miami, and in several neighboring communities but we were also building new homes within those communities as well.
In 1991, I was honored to serve a one-year term as the Second Chief for our tribe, The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.
In 1993, my wife, Lea Ann, and I relocated to Bethany, Oklahoma, and we established our company, J & L Construction, LLC. In 2004, in order to place more emphasis on our love of remodeling and that component of our business, we changed the company's name to J and L Construction and Remodeling, LLC. In 2005, we moved into a new home in Edmond, Oklahoma and relocated our office to Edmond, as well. John and Lea Ann have three children and six grandchildren.
Wichita, Kansas 1958
Class of 1976