Beth M. (LaBarr) Baker
Beth Marie LaBarr Baker is the beloved mother of Whitney, Steven, Sidney and Adrian; mother-in-law to Carolyn, Marianne, Susan and Kevin; grandmother to thirteen wonderful young adults–a true Baker’s dozen–and great grandmother to eighteen little ones. She is also survived by her brother Harry A La Barr, Jr., and her sister Jean Miner. She passed away on Thursday, March 13, 2008, and is now reunited with our father, Maurice Frank Baker; her parents, Harry and Blanche LaBarr; her sister, Lois, and two children lost in childbirth.
Mom was born on her grandparent’s homestead southeast of Clarion on January 29, 1918. After graduating from high school where she played first chair violin in the school orchestra, she studied home economics at Iowa State University where she met our dad. She taught in a country school near Dows for a year before marrying our dad on August 12, 1938. The WWII years were difficult as she had two small boys to take care of while our dad served as a Lieutenant J.G. in the Navy in the Pacific. Following the war they lived in Missouri and Kansas with their family that now included three active young boys. They moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1950 where our dad received his doctorate in zoology. In 1952, our family grew one more time with the birth of a daughter.
In addition to being a loving and caring wife and mother, Mom found time to develop her artistic talents in silversmithing and millinery. Later she studied various art media, including watercolor, oil, and pen and ink and has gifted all of our lives with many beautiful paintings by which she will be remembered.
Our mother’s greatest gifts to her family and friends were those of calm and steadfast love, a low-key, subtle sense of humor, a strong faith in God, a reverence for the natural world, a love of art and music, and not the least of which, a love for cats.
She and dad are looking down from heaven with the knowledge that their children will continue to uphold the principles they imparted to us. Mom, we miss you but are so happy that you are in a better place where “there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.”