Former Senate Majority Leader Howard Henry Baker Jr. passed away Thursday at age 88. Baker served 18 years in the U.S. Senate and held many prestigious positions, including Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan.
1925: Born in Huntsville, Tenn.
Howard Henry Baker Jr. was born Nov. 15, 1925 in Huntsville, Tenn. to Dora Ann and Howard H. Baker Sr.
1943: Graduates from McCallie School and enlists in U.S. Navy
Baker graduated from McCallie School, a military preparatory school in Chattanooga. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He studied electrical engineering at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. and Tulane University.
1949: Graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School
At the end of his naval career, Baker attended the University of Tennessee Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1949.
1950: Served as campaign manager for his father's run for Congress
In 1950, Baker served as campaign manager for his father's successful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.
1951: Marries Joy Dirksen
Baker married Joy Dirksen, the daughter of Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, in December 1951.
1953: Howard's son is born
While living in Huntsville, Ala., Joy gave birth to their first child, Darek in 1953.
1956: Howard's daughter is born
In 1956, Joy gave birth to their second child, Cynthia.
1963: Baker's father passes away
Baker's father served in the U.S. House of Representatives until his death in 1963.
1964: Runs for the U.S. Senate in a special election
In 1964, Baker decided to run for the U.S. Senate in a special election to fill a vacant seat when Sen. Estes Kefauver died, but lost.
1966: Becomes Tennessee's first popularly elected Republican senator
Despite his loss in 1964, he ran again in 1966. Baker won 56 percent of the popular vote, becoming Tennessee's first popularly elected Republican senator.
1973: Watergate Hearings
Baker became a prominent national leader while serving as the highest-ranking Republican of the Senate Watergate Committee. The senator from Tennessee uttered the most memorable quote from that scandal: "What did the President know, and when did he know it."
1976: Gerald Ford considers Baker for a running mate
Baker was the keynote speaker at the Republican convention in 1976. During that same year, Gerald Ford considered him for a running mate.
1977: Elected Senate Minority Leader
Baker was elected Senate Minority Leader in 1977, a position he held until 1981.
1980: Candidate for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination
Baker was a candidate for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination.
1981: Elected Senate Majority Leader
In 1981, Baker was elected Senate Majority Leader, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.
1987: Becomes President Reagan's Chief of Staff
Baker served as President Ronald Reagan's Chief of Staff from 1987 to 1988.
1989: Practices law in Tennessee
After he retired from politics, Baker practiced law with several Tennessee firms for the next 13 years.
1993: First wife, Joy, passes away from cancer
In 1993, Baker lost his first wife, Joy, to cancer.
1996: Marries Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum
In December 1996, Baker married Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum.
2001: Appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan
In 2001, George W. Bush appointed Baker as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
2003: The Howard H. Baker Jr. for Public Policy was founded
The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy was founded in 2003 on the University of Tennessee campus. The nonpartisan institute named in Baker's honor is devoted to education and research concerning public policy and civic engagement.
2005: Receives first UT honorary doctorate
The University of Tennessee awarded Baker its first honorary doctorate in the spring of 2005.
2014: Passes away at age 88
Baker passed away at his home in Huntsville, Tenn., following complications from a stroke he suffered last week. His wife, former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, was present, reported The Tennessean.