Donald Justin (DJ) Baker was born to Carole Starzinger and Howard Baker in Decatur, Illinois at St. Mary’s Hospital
in May of 1996. He went to meet the Lord in St. Louis, Missouri at Barnes Jewish Hospital on June 1st, 2016. DJ
died of brain death caused by irreparable and irreversible trauma to the brain which arose after a severe
hemorrhage. The details and causes of his death are still under review by his medical teams.
Donald is survived by his parents Howard (Randy) Baker, Jr. and Carole A. Starzinger, his brother H. Jordan Baker
(and sister in-law Jessica Weatherly-Baker), his sisters Hayley E. Baker, Kate A. Baker, and Courtney C. Baker, the
love of his life, Danielle Sychowski, brother in life, Wyatt T. Williams, Grandparents Barbara Baker, Don and Judy
Starzinger, and a host of loving friends and family. He was preceded in death by Grandfather, Howard E. Baker.
DJ attended the Lutheran School Association in Decatur, Illinois from Kindergarten through 9th grade. He
completed his High School education at St. Teresa High School in Decatur, Ilinois. DJ was a Sophomore at Lake
Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois at the time of his passing.
DJ was a life long member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Decatur. He was a member of the St. Teresa and Lake
Forest Football teams, whom he regarded as brothers. Among other organizations and teams, DJ was a member of
the Thespian Society in his high school career; he acted in, directed, and wrote productions while at St Teresa.
DJ had a heart for children and participated in many service projects through his schools and church in Decatur and
his team at Lake Forest.
As a young man, DJ became skilled at singing, creative writing, football, video games, and heated debates on trivial
issues. His whit, charisma, vitality, and most of all his loving heart left a unique impression on all who knew him.
Donald Justin made the choice to be an organ donor, and will be leaving a legacy of humility by saving the lives of
six strangers. It is not surprising to those who had the pleasure of feeling the love and compassion of DJ in life, that
he would offer that love and compassion in death.
The loss of this man – of honor and faith, of strength and humility, of humor and of intellect, of love and of
livelihood – this loss has been felt deeply by his community of family and friends, now bonded together. For his
family, DJ was a light, a rock, a funny joke and a strong hand. He was a bear hug and knowing smile. He was loved
and gave love in return. To his friends and brothers on and off the gridiron, DJ offered strength and support,
dedication and honor, and of course a joke whenever needed.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The DJ Baker Memorial Fund at Busey Bank. DJ held the care and
education of his little sister Courtney as a high priority, and his career goals were focused on providing for this. All
donations made to the fund in his name will be used toward the education and care of his favorite little sister in his
On, Sunday, June 12th, an open visitation will take place at 2:00 PM followed by the funeral service at 5:00 PM.
These events will take place at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 1 Bachrach Ct., Decatur IL 62526. Tanzyus-Logan
Funeral Service and Care is in charge of the arrangements.
The Service will be followed by a Celebration of Life hosted by DJ’s friends and family.
The Service will be followed by a Celebration of Life hosted by DJ’s friends and family. Please join the friends and
family of DJ to share prayers, support, and memories in celebration of DJ’s Life, and in thankfulness for the blessing
that he was to us. This event will take place starting at 6:00 p.m. at The Knights of Columbus Hall at 520 E. North
St., Decatur, IL 62523.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My Presence, so that you also may
be where I am.” John 14:3