Memorial services were held Monday, Feb. 20, at Hope Evangelical Free Church in Storm Lake. Burial was in the Ocheyedan Township Cemetery in Ocheyedan on Monday. The Sliefert Funeral Home in Storm Lake was in charge of the arrangements.
Howard Rodney Baker was born Oct. 11, 1932 in Ocheyedan, the son of Maynard and Cynthia (Riemersma) Baker.
Howard served his country in the Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Alaska. On Nov. 29, 1958, he married Elnora Harker. They were blessed with three children: Julie, Jim (Cookie), and Mike. They lived most of their life in Ocheyedan.
For most of Howard's life, he was closely connected to the soil in various ways. He worked at Concrete Sand & Materials in Milford, as a dragline operator. He purchased a dragline, a tiling machine and a backhoe and worked for many years installing farm drainage tile in northwest Iowa and southern Minnesota. He was also a Chief dealer, selling and erecting farm grain storage bins and metal buildings. He sold seed corn for Mallard Seed Co.
But his main love was actually working the soil, making the land productive. He installed many soil and water conservation practices on the farm, including extensive terraces and waterways. He was a long-time Soil & Water District Commissioner in Osceola County. He raised purebred Maine Anjou cattle, with which he won many ribbons and trophies at cattle shows. After retiring from farming, he continued his connection to the land, as he took up vegetable gardening and selling his bounty at the local farmer's markets.
He was also active in the Republican party, attending several local, district and state conferences. He was chairman of the church board of the United Methodist Church in Ocheyedan.
During the years after he retired, he and Elnora worked and lived at Royal Starr resort in Minnesota. During the summers living there, he was on a softball team for senior citizens, playing third base. He loved major league baseball, especially the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2000, he and Elnora moved to Storm Lake to be closer to their children and grandkids: Alex, Kacee, Cody and Jessi, whom he loved dearly. They are sure to remember the days of fun together, especially fishing and kite-flying
We will all remember him as a guy who could build, fix, weld, repair or grow about anything.
The Lord took him home peacefully and quickly on Feb. 17, 2012 at the age of 79, after living 22 years with Parkinson's Disease, which he never gave in to, but strongly fought the effects of the disease. He was like the Energizer Bunny, who just kept going, and going and going.
His strong faith in his Lord Jesus Christ, his quietness, his humble spirit and his perseverance in the face of difficulty has been an inspiration and a model to his family and to many who knew him well.
Howard was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Jan Thiessen. He is survived by his wife, Elnora; his three children: his four grandchildren: his three brothers: Arthur (Jiggs), Bobby and David; his sister, Virginia Skow; and his brother-in-law, Jim Thiessen.