Sudie Mae Callaway Baker of Nashville, TN peacefully left this world on November 10, 2021. Always bringing light, laughter and music, she was affectionately called Mom, Mamaw, Aunt Sudie and Sudie Mae by her family of 3 generations. Many refer to Sudie as their safe place, as she always provided comfort and room for weary souls. Sudie was the first child of the late Charles Britt Callaway and Icie Fee Callaway, born on July 27, 1934 in Twila, Kentucky.
Her first love was always music. She began singing and playing guitar at the age of 6 in church and with her father and uncles at porch picking parties. Her first professional work was at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance during her teenage years. She played guitar, banjo, and sang with her 2 younger sisters Clara and Coleida. Almost immediately after graduating high school in Wallins Creek KY, Sudie moved to Detroit, MI to work at WJR with Casey Clark and the Lazy Ranch Boys. There she met her soon to be husband, steel guitar player Jim Baker.
They left for Knoxville, TN to work on the Cas Walker show, eventually moving to Nashville in the 1960’s. From here, she worked the road singing and playing bass guitar with many country music stars. She sang on numerous recordings and on the Grand Ole Opry. She was in steady demand as a background vocalist in the studio and on stage for decades with names like: Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Porter Wagoner, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, and George Strait. She also made appearances in several films including Smokey & The Bandit, W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings and Harper Valley P.T.A.
She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Jim Baker, siblings Icie Callaway Kirby, Coleida Campbell, and Charlie Callaway Junior. She is survived by siblings Clara Howard, Ted (Kay) Callaway, children Daniel (Mary) Baker, Linda (Jim) Phifer, Timothy (Tambra) Baker, grandchildren Audrey, Emily, Daniel, Hannah, Elliot, Lilly, Jimmy, great grandchildren Grady, Jonah, Eden as well as many loved nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at Mt. Pleasant funeral home in Harlan, Kentucky November 16, 2021 from 11-1 pm ET. The burial will follow immediately at Harlan Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the non-profit organization, MusiCares.
Mount Pleasant Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Sudie Mae Callaway Baker.