Iona M. Baker [1916-2013 ]; Teacher had lifelong love for learning


Iona M. Baker, a retired third-grade teacher for Rossford Exempted Village Schools who had a lifelong zest for knowledge, died Friday in Otterbein Portage Valley in Pemberville, Ohio, where she lived for six years. She was 97.

Mrs. Baker, formerly of Walbridge, had been in good health until the last two months, said her son, George Baker. He did not know the cause of death.

A lifelong Wood County resident, she was born in 1916 and grew up on a farm on Latcha Road in Lake Township. She graduated in 1935 from Lake High School.

She met her future husband, Kempton Baker, at a Halloween party. They were married on April 27, 1935. Mr. Baker, who was a Lake Township trustee from 1966 to 1986, died on Oct. 13, 2004.

Mrs. Baker stayed at home with her three children, but eventually pursued a degree in education. She took classes at Bowling Green State University and extension courses in Walbridge sponsored by the college during the 1950s.

She earned a cadet teaching certificate and taught at Eagle Point Elementary, and continued coursework at BGSU, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1964.

“Mom was always someone who valued education. She was a lifelong learner,” her son said. “That is something that she instilled in her three children at a very young age.”

Mrs. Baker taught for 20 years, retiring in 1977.

In retirement, she continued pursuing her interests in art and calligraphy, her son said.

She took lessons in painting and completed many watercolors.

“After mom retired from teaching, she never stopped learning,” Mr. Baker said. “She was taking painting lessons until a month ago.”

Surviving are her daughters, Gail Griminger and Rebecca Reinbolt; son, George Baker; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Zion Lutheran Church, 26535 Pemberville Rd., Lake Township, where visitation will begin at 10 a.m.

Arrangements are being handled by the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Walbridge.

The family suggests tributes to Zion Lutheran Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.

— Mark Reiter