Prudence Putnam Frost Baker, physical therapist, lake lover, grandmother

Prudence Putnam Frost Baker – 89, passed away at her home in Waterbury Center surrounded by her family on June 10, 2022. Born in Littleton, MA, on July 24, 1932, she was the daughter of the late Sherman Clark and Ruth (Miles) Frost. Her parents owned an apple orchard, known as Colonial Orchards, persevering through the Great Depression, two hurricanes and several crop killing frosts. Ruth also operated an early education program from their home starting in 1934, caring for as many as 43 children during WWII so that mothers could go to work. Although Prue did not have any siblings, the home was always full of children.


Throughout her childhood, Prue spent summers at her grandparents’ camp on Willoughby Lake in Westmore, VT with her grandparents and her cousins. The extended family spent countless hours swimming, canoeing, and rowing on the lake or hiking the surrounding mountains. In high school, Prue taught swimming lessons at Long Lake in Littleton and was issued a wool bathing suit to wear while on the job. Prue graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA in 1954 with a major in Zoology. She continued her education at Sargent College of Boston University to become a certified physical therapist.


She met her husband, Richard Nichols Baker, while he was stationed at Fort Devens during the Korean War, and, on June 15, 1957, they were married in Littleton. After living in Quenemo, KS for a year while Richard finished his studies at Baker University, they moved back to Massachusetts where their son, Joel, was born. In 1967, the family moved to Waterbury Center and Charity was born soon after. Amity joined the family a few years later and all three children grew up in Waterbury Center.


After serving as a physical therapist in area nursing homes and at the Waterbury State Hospital for a few years, Prue joined the staff at Central Vermont Home Health and worked from its offices in Waterbury and Berlin until her retirement. For decades, she traveled back roads in Lamoille, Washington, and Orange counties in all kinds of weather to help her patients regain mobility and stay in their homes.


Prue had an open and kind heart and used it to improve the lives of others outside of work, too. She was active as a youth with the Littleton Congregational Church, and, after moving to Vermont, joined the Waterbury Center Community Church and served on many committees through the years. In addition, she served as a coordinator for the Waterbury area CROP Hunger Walk, Green Up Day and was a member of Revitalizing Waterbury in its early days.


In her leisure time, Prue loved music, travel, and time spent outdoors. She was an active member of church choirs throughout her life, kept her children occupied during long car trips by teaching them rounds to sing, and loved singing with the Montpelier-based Onion River Chorus for many years. She introduced her children and grandchildren to the places she loved as a child in the Northeast Kingdom and never lost her sense of wonder and joy in the world around her. She explored many places in Europe and the Americas by motorcycle, car, train, plane, and ship with friends and family.


Family Information

When her health began its slow decline in recent years, daughter Charity returned to Waterbury Center to help her stay in her home. She is survived by her son, Joel Baker, and his wife, Michelle, of Waterbury Center and their children, Adrian of Brooklyn, NY and Marlena of Auburndale, MA; daughter, Charity Baker of Waterbury Center; Amity Baker and her husband, Michael Brown, of Burlington. She was predeceased by Richard in March 2001.


Submitted by:

John Woodruff
[email protected]