Christa Beverly Baker, Wife of Md. Gubernatorial Candidate Rushern Baker, Dies at 61

    Christa Beverly Baker, the wife of former Prince George’s County executive and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Rushern L. Baker III, died Saturday after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

    She was 61.

    “Today I lost the love of my life, my best friend, and the source of all my strength. She was our rock – the absolutely best mother to my kids and wife to me. She spent her life fighting injustice, inequities and, for the last decade, illness with grace and grit,” Baker said in a tweet.

    Baker said his late wife brought a “legacy of joy” to their family and community. The couple had three children. They first met as undergrads at Howard University.

    Known as “Cis” or “Cissy” to friends and family, Baker was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010.

    Before her diagnosis, Baker worked as a government affairs director for the United Negro College Fund, and earlier for the congressional whip’s office, mobilizing votes on major issues. She was also one of the county executive’s most trusted political advisers.

    Maryland state senator Paul Pinsky told WTOP that he has been friends with the Baker family for decades, and described her as “extremely dynamic and personable,” and “the life of the party.”

    Pinsky, who also recently lost his wife, said he told Rushern Baker: “Don’t think about politics or the race. If you take two days or two weeks off, it’s not going to affect things” when it comes to the governor’s race.

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expressed his condolences via Twitter:

    Rushern Baker is a board member at the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter, and shares his family’s story through the Christa Beverly Foundation.

    As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Julie Gallagher. Click here for the WTOP News website. Maryland Matters Editor Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report.