Abraham J. Baker, 95, who operated Baker's Photo Supply in the Northwest Washington neighborhood of Tenleytown for half a century, died of pneumonia Jan. 7 at Hospice of Washington. He had a heart ailment. He lived at Friendship Terrace in the District.
Mr. Baker repaired cameras while his wife, Ruline, handled other aspects of the business. They opened their first store in 1947, on 41st Street NW, the second at the present site of the Dancing Crab restaurant and the third in the 4400 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW, near Tenley Circle.
According to published accounts, the Bakers were legendary in the neighborhood for their help to photographers and young people. Over the years, they employed and trained nearly 1,000 teenage helpers, many from nearby Wilson High School.
In a 1988 story about the Bakers in The Washington Post, Al Yee, production manager at National Geographic, said that as a young worker at the shop he had "learned a lot of things I still use: invoicing, math, photographic equipment knowledge. And much more than that: I learned responsibility, how to deal with people -- and especially common sense." Bill Petrini, the Bakers' first youth employee and later director of photographic services at National Geographic, said that the store was well known to photographers. He said the Bakers were special because they devoted so much time to teaching their customers and employees about the equipment.
Ruline Baker died in 1995, and her husband closed the store two years later.
Mr. Baker attended Bucknell University in his native Lewisburg, Pa. He served in the Pennsylvania National Guard as a young man. He was a warehouse manager and salesman for Truscon Steel in Texas, Ohio and New York and also worked in Chicago and New Jersey.
The Bakers moved to Washington from Dallas in 1942, when he took a job teaching at the old National School of Photography in Silver Spring. He served in the Navy during World War II.
Mr. Baker was a bookkeeper, salesman and instructor for IBM in Washington before opening the store. He also developed an early process of preserving black and white photographs.
Mr. Baker was president of the Friendship Lions Club and of the Lions District 22-C Eye Bank. He was a founding member of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, where he lived for nearly 40 years.
Survivors include a sister.