Mason City: Velma Babe P. Baker, 92, of 741 S. Illinois Ave. died Thursday, November 13, 2008 at the Good Shepherd Care Center.
A memorial service and celebration of Babes life will be at 1 P.M. Saturday, November 22 at the First United Methodist Church, 119 S. Georgia Ave. in Mason City, IA.
Velma Babe Baker, born on April 25, 1916 in Dayton, Iowa, was the third of four children born to Robert M. and Elizabeth A. (Desch) Umsted.
She grew up and graduated from Dayton High School in 1934. While a student, she was a gifted athlete, and developed a love of sports that remained with her through out her entire life.
She was married to Cecil Red R. Baker on January 1, 1936 at Fort Dodge. During their married lives they lived in several communities including Armstrong, Livermore, LuVerne (where their children grew up and graduated), Emmetsburg, Dayton, and lastly settling in Mason City in 1979. She resided at the Pilgrim Place apartments from 1987 until October of this year. She remained active until just recently when ill health prompted her move to the Good Shepherd.
During her lifetime, Babe held many jobs. She was an accomplished sewer, a great cook, and a fierce competitor at any card game, especially cribbage. Many a grandchild challenged her to a game only to regret it after she skunked them. In their earlier years, Babe and Red spent many happy hours fishing and going to dances. She especially loved baseball, and cheered for the New York Yankees all of her life, rarely missing their games on television. She was also a devoted fan of the Hawkeye basketball team, and also followed them via televised games. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mason City, her faith and church family being an important force in her life.
With love and devotion she was Reds caretaker during the years of his declining health. Of all her lifes jobs and undertakings, Babe would have told you without hesitation that her greatest joy and source of pride was raising her three children. She dearly loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren, always happy to hear from them and to know how their lives were going.
Survivors include her daughter Karen J. Bird and husband Jim of Mason City, son Mick Baker and wife Sally of Mason City, daughter-in-law Cathie Baker of New Brighton, Minnesota. Also surviving her are her grandchildren: R. Diane Shanafelt of Sioux City, Donna Stolze of Sioux City, Jennifer Koehler of Silver Bay MN, Bradley Baker of Minneapolis MN, Susan Kral of Mason City, Andrew Baker of Eden Prairie MN, Chris Baker of Oxford IA, and one sister Dorothy Schill of Weslaco TX. She is also survived by many great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren, several nieces, nephews and cousins including one very special cousin, MaryLou Strandberg (affectionately referred to as sister of my heart) from Dayton IA. Others who will miss Babe are her special family and friends at Pilgrim Place.
She was preceeded in death by her brother Bobby in childhood, her parents, her husband Cecil R. Red Baker, her son Donald R. Baker, a grandson Donald Robert Baker Jr. in infancy, a great grand daughter Leah Diane Shanafelt in infancy, and her sister Irene King.
Babes last wish was to die in comfort and peace. With many family members beside her, and with the loving and skilled care of the staff at Good Shepherd and the Hospice care team, this gift was granted. With hearts full of gratitude, the family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to all these people, and pray Gods continued blessings upon each and every one of you.