Terrell T. Baker
Terrell Thomas Baker, 81, of Belmond, Iowa, died Monday, April 12, 2021 following complications from a stroke he suffered on the preceding Wednesday evening. He was surrounded by his family at Abrazo Central Campus in Phoenix, Arizona just a few hours before he was called home.
Funeral services for Terrell Baker will be held on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 10:30 AM at Ewing Funeral Home, 111 Luick’s Lane South in Belmond with Pastor David Boogerd officiating. Burial will be in the Belmond Cemetery.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at Ewing Funeral Home, 111 Luick’s Lane South in Belmond and will continue one hour prior to services on Monday.
He was born to Ralph Chester and Rose (Lieuwen) Baker on February 3, 1940, and shared the initials of his maternal grandfather Teeke Tjaard (T.T.) Lieuwen. He worked from an early age with his father on the farm consisting of grain and livestock. Terrell remembered harnessing the horses with his Dad to work the ground to plant. He loved farming and bought his first piece of farm ground in his early twenties.
Terrell attended Belmond High School where he enjoyed playing football. He also played saxophone in the school band. Two of his daughters played the same saxophone when they were in school.
Terrell participated in FFA and 4-H and enjoyed showing his cattle where he won a number of showmanship awards. He was particularly proud of his peacock blue and white 1956 Ford Victoria 500 which he bought in high school.
He met Myrna Strait in high school and they were married in Belmond, Iowa on December 21, 1957. Not long after and, after growing up with two sisters, Terrell was blessed with three more little women in his life–his daughters–Denise, Annette and Christine whom he lovingly referred to as “the girls”.
Terrell was active in the Belmond Saddle Club. When the girls were young, Terrell bought three ponies and a couple of horses for the family. They enjoyed going on trail rides through the grove, horse shows in the area and even some rodeos. Terrell was also active in the snowmobile club and the family had much fun riding “the sleds” throughout the winters.
After getting the horses, Terrell sold horse trailers on the farm. He later converted a livestock building where he had raised hogs into a small store where saddles, bridles, and other horse equipment was sold. The physical store on the farm was enlarged and jeans, boots and hats were added to the inventory. Baker’s Western Store eventually moved into town where the old Ben Franklin store was and the merchandise was expanded even further. The store closed after many years of business.
Terrell inherited some of his paternal grandfather’s (John Dixon Baker) sense of civic pride.
As a young man, Terrell was active in Jaycees and held various offices with the local Belmond Chapter.
After the Belmond tornado in 1966 when he was President-Elect of the Jaycees, he was one of the main advocates for a big Belmond 4th of July celebration with a morning parade, activities throughout the day culminating into the grand finale fireworks in the evening. The idea met with approval and this wonderful celebration has continued for over 50 years.
Terrell was presented the Outstanding Jaycee award by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his outstanding service to the Belmond Chapter and Community. Terrell was also honored to represent the state of Iowa at the national level of Jaycees for Community Development.
In 1971 he was awarded by the Belmond Jaycees, Outstanding Young Farmer. He was also awarded Outstanding Young Farmer by the Iowa State Jaycees. These recognitions meant the world to him. He was a good steward of the land and enjoyed mentoring young farmers when he had an opportunity.
In the early 1970’s, Terrell and Myrna bought a small three season cabin on Clear Lake, Iowa just down from The Surf Ballroom. The family enjoyed going up there in the summer months swimming, skiing and fishing with an occasional ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen right across the street.
In 2000, the cabin was torn down and an all season lake home, designed by Terrell, was ultimately built. He did a lot of the work himself with his life-long buddy Babe Ersland. Over the years, he enjoyed spending time at the lake fishing and watching the ducks and sailboats. He also enjoyed his periodic fishing trips to South Dakota and Canada.
Unfortunately, a farming accident on May 15, 2013 changed his life and forced him to retire from active farming and limited his ability to enjoy many of the things he so dearly loved.
In 2014 Terrell and Myrna bought a place in a retirement community in Mesa, Arizona where they have enjoyed escaping the Iowa winter and meeting many new friends. Terrell really enjoyed developing fast friendships with “the folks on 8th street”.
Terrell lived on a farm his whole life. He was passionate about and loved farming. He loved working the ground, planting the seeds, and harvesting his crop. He loved planting a big garden where he planted all kinds of vegetables. Sometimes he would even plant a secret garden that Myrna didn’t know about so she wouldn’t accuse him of having too big of a garden.
He also loved working with livestock whether it was cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens or horses over different periods of his life. He loved hunting and fishing. He also loved having a dog around on the farm over the years and really missed not having a dog during the last few years of his life.
While Terrell enjoyed the chaotic Christmas holidays with family, his favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. It was a time to give thanks for a safe and bountiful harvest. Much of the food for the Thanksgiving dinner came from the big garden that Terrell would have planted.
Family meant everything to Terrell and he was able to enjoy really important things in life. He walked each of his daughters down the aisle at their weddings. He saw all three of his grandchildren grow up to be young adults. He was able to be at his only granddaughter’s wedding. He was blessed with two great grandchildren. When his daughter Chris married Mitch Ersland he gained a whole new group of grandchildren and great grandchildren. He celebrated 63 wedding anniversaries with his wife, Myrna.
Terrell was a generous man his entire life and even after death, a designated organ donor, he will continue to touch many lives through his generous gift of tissue/skin donation.
Those left to cherish his memory and mourn his passing are his wife, Myrna Rae (Strait) Baker; daughters, Denise DeRae Hamilton (Ronald); Annette Rene VanZee (David); and, Christine Ann Ersland (Mitchell); grandchildren, Benjamin Baker Hamilton (Gail Anderson); Kaitlin Kristine Hamilton; and Logan Lee VanZee; great grandchildren, Briar Alan Mitchell Hamilton and Delilah DeRae Hamilton; sister, Loree (Baker) Meyer (Richard); brothers-in-law, Charles (Chuck) Strait (Judy) and Harlan Poolman and many nieces and nephews.
Terrell was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Judith (Judy) (Baker) Poolman and his sisters-in-law Kathy (McLaughlin) Strait, Peggy Ann Strait, and Sharen (Strait) Terhark.
Terrell will be laid to rest in the Belmond Cemetery, Belmond, Iowa where his parents, grandparents, great grandmother and many aunts, uncles, and cousins are at rest.
In honor of Terrell’s love for charitable contributions, the family requests, in lieu of flowers, friends and family make donations to their favorite charities in memory of Terrell.
Well done, good and faithful servant…Matthew 25:21