History of Our Funeral Home

Our Family Serving Your Family Since 1885

Serving families in Suffolk, Portsmouth, and surrounding localities is a tradition for R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home & Crematory in Suffolk and B.W. Foster Funeral Home in Portsmouth.

Together, we have over two centuries of combined experience. Robert Washington Baker started R.W. Baker & Co. Furniture Dealers and Undertakers in downtown Suffolk in 1885, and Robert N. Baker, III and his son, Robert N. Baker IV (Blake), operate it. Blake is a fifth generation funeral director.

History. Tradition. Heritage. That's what these two companies have in common. And together they expanded our respective funeral homes with a joint venture to serve the fast growing Northern Suffolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth areas -- Baker-Foster Funeral Home. The 11,000 square foot building opened in 1992 as a full-service funeral facility. Cremations for Baker-Foster are provided through R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory. The Foster's family business began in Portsmouth in 1896 as Flynn & O'Connor Funeral Home, which was acquired by the Fosters in 1936. It is currently operated by Brian P. Foster.

Baker-Foster Funeral Home also is home to Nansemond Pet Cremations Services. Started in 2007, it is another way the Bakers and the Fosters are able to serve their families. Visit www.nansemondpetcremation.com for more information.

July 24, 2012, originally Purviance Funeral Home, located in Wakefield, VA, was purchased by the Baker family. Our staff is making sure that we provide family to family service that families have relied on many generations from the Baker and Purviance families. We are very proud to have the Wakefield Chapel as part of our family.

Our Officers

R.W. Baker

R.W. Baker, Founder
1885 - 1928

Since 1885, R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home has been a business run by a direct descendant of Robert Washington Baker. He started the business when it encompassed both made-to-order coffins and a furniture store.

R.N. Baker, Sr.

R.N. Baker, Sr.
1928 - 1940

R.N. Baker, Sr., operated the business from 1928 to 1940. His son, R.N. Baker, Jr. attended Virginia Military Institute and received a degree from the School of Engineering. He took over from 1940 until his death in 1967.

R.N. Baker, Jr.

R.N. Baker, Jr.
1940 - 1967

Built in 1910, the stately John King home at 509 W. Washington Street was sold to R.W. Baker and Co. by Miss Zaidee V. Crump in 1942. After making extensive improvements and repairs, R.N. "Bob" Baker and wife, Allie, began a new era of community service when they opened the doors to the new location of R.W. Baker & Co Funeral Home.

Allie Oliver Baker

Allie Oliver Baker
1967 - 1969


Robert N. Baker III, the current President, and his mother, Allie Oliver Baker, then ran the business together from 1967-1969. Allie was one of the few women in the state who had a funeral director's license at that time.

Roberta B. Powell

Roberta B. Powell
1969 - 2009

Roberta Baker Powell joined the family business in 1969. The second daughter of Bob and Allie, she graduated from the Medical College of Virginia, now known as VCU, from the School of E-ray Technology. After working at Obici Hospital for a number of years, she became the office manager of this family business until her retirement in 2009. She is still active on an as-needed basis at the funeral home when she is not traveling or enjoying retirement.