Samuel “Ward” Baker, 99, of Altoona and formerly of What Cheer, Des Moines and Bakersfield, Calif., passed away Saturday evening, Sept. 7, 2013, at his home in Altoona.
Samuel Ward Baker, son of Arthur and Laura (Kitzman) Baker, was born Sept. 17, 1913, in the rural What Cheer home of his parents. He was a graduate of What Cheer High School and then furthered his education at the Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines where he studied business. While in school and following his education, Ward lived at the Brown Hotel in Des Moines. After completing his degree at the college he was employed by the IRS in Des Moines. Ward married Jeanne Widby, April 26, 1941, in Des Moines. With the start of World War II, Ward enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Gulf Port, Miss., and later in Alameda, Calif. After his discharge, he returned to Des Moines where he tried to resume his career with the IRS. Since the IRS was not hiring, Ward returned to Bakersfield, Calif., where he found a job managing the Carnation Dairy Ice Cream Shop. He worked there for a brief time before he was hired by Motor City/3-Way Chevrolet as the credit manager. He remained in that position for 30+ years and then took a position as credit manager for Floyd’s Mercantile, a job he held for more than 10 years. Ward tried retirement for a brief time, before a friend hired him as a crossing guard; a position he enjoyed immensely. Later Ward took a position in the Shriner’s office in Bakersfield – he remained there until 2006, when he moved to Marshall, Mo., to be near his daughter. In 2011, Ward moved to Altoona to be close to his other daughter. Ward was a Mason since 1937 and was also a member of the Scottish Rite Lodge and the Shriners. He enjoyed the game of golf and spending time with his family.
He is survived by his daughters, P.J. Baker, of Altoona, and Laurie (Mike) Hetrick, of Marshall, Mo.; four grandsons: Wyn (Jenny) Auer, Randy Auer, Guy (Jaima) Cook, and Nick (Kelly) Cook; seven great-grandchildren: Gavin, Hunter, Grace, Ainsley and, Makayla Cook and Cristian and Cassady Auer.
In addition to his parents, Ward was preceded in death by his wife Jeanne of 67 years; and his brothers: Melvin and Ivan Baker.
Graveside funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at Indianapolis Cemetery with the Rev. Mike Omundson of the First Christian Church officiating and Military Honors by the Oskaloosa Honor Guard. Those wishing to attend should meet at Garland-Van Arkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel by 10 a.m. to proceed to the cemetery together or gather at the cemetery by 10:30 a.m. Memorials are to the Shriners Children’s Hospital. Memories and condolences may be sent by visiting the online obituary guest book at www.gvlfuneralchapel.com.