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Opal May Ball Baker
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Birth: Oct. 19, 1918
Harrison County
Iowa, USA
Death: Apr. 12, 2012
Decatur County
Iowa, USA

Opal May (Ball) Baker departed from this life on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at the age of 93. She was born on October 19, 1918, the seventh child of eight children, at their farm home in Harrison County near Logan, Iowa. She married Howard Baker on March 29, 1940, in Pisgah, Iowa. She is preceded in death by her father, George Howard Ball, who died when Opal was four years old; her mother, Daisy Rhode Good Ball, who passed away at the age of 91; her three brothers, Richard Thomas Ball, Squire Alister Ball, and Isreal D. Ball; and her four sisters, Pearl Olivia Jones, Lucy Delhi Moss, Ann Naomi Muxfeldt, and Mary Ann Ball.

She is survived by her husband of 72 years, Howard Baker, of Lamoni, formerly of Denison, Iowa; her sons, Paul Baker and his wife, Candi, of Lawrence, Kansas; David Baker and his wife, Linda, of Blue Springs, Missouri; and her daughter, Linda Phillips and her husband, Larry of Lamoni, Iowa; six grandchildren, Chanda Baker, Danika (Baker) Rowe, Michael Phillips, Anne (Phillips) Shaffer, Jennifer (Baker) Valente, and Jonathan Baker; and five great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Katherine, and Michael Rowe III, and Connor and Aubrey Shaffer. Other survivors include numerous nieces and nephews, with whom she had a special relationship.

Opal was raised in the Methodist Church attending a country church in a community called Harris Grove. Her mother told her that it was her father who initiated her going to church, which, in those days, meant hitching up a team of horses and taking the buggy to church. In 1952, Opal was baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Denison.

After graduating from Logan High School with a teaching certificate, she taught in a country school for one year. Deciding teaching was not her calling, Opal returned to Logan. There she and her best friend, Virginia Blankenship, worked as waitresses for Cassidy's Café, where Opal met her future husband, Howard Baker, who pioneered the 7-Up business in a five-county area, warehousing his merchandise in Denison. They were married on March 29, 1940, in Pisgah, Iowa. Joining this union on April 16, 1942, was their son, Paul Arthur, and on December 27, 1943, their son, David Howard, and seven years later, on June 13, 1950, their daughter, Linda Susan.

During the early years of their marriage and World War II, Howard was drafted into the Army. It was during this time that Opal kept their 7-Up business running in the garage basement of their home on 17th Ave. in Denison, as well as chase after two young and active boys. Throughout the years, Opal served as Den Leader for her sons' Boy Scout activities, as well as Girl Scout Leader for her daughter. She established a young girls' group at church called the Gigi Girls. Opal and Howard faithfully attended all their sons' sports activities, especially the basketball games, becoming loyal fans by celebrating their wedding anniversary every year for over forty years by attending the state high school basketball tournament in Des Moines.

Opal was an avid golfer with membership in the Denison Country Club for over fifty years. She participated in the women's league and played in tournaments in all the surrounding counties. She loved playing cards with the women every week at the club luncheon after playing golf in the morning. Her children grew up on the golf course with her son, David, winning the club championship in 1972, and her daughter, Linda, edging her mother out by two strokes in the women's city championship in 1967.

Opal was active in the Denison Community of Christ Church by serving as the District League Leader, Christian Education Director, and Zionic Relations Leader, and in the local branch by serving as Historian, Women's Leader, Sunday School teacher, Bishop's Agent, Outreach International representative, and by working in various roles in church camps for the youth and yearly reunions.

In 1985 Opal was honored as Denison's Citizen of the Year for all her outstanding work and dedication to the community. She played a vital role for twelve years as a trustee and vice-president of the library board for Norelius Community Library and served as its president for the library's expansion. In 1985, Governor Terry Branstad appointed Opal to serve on the State Library Commission for two years in Iowa. In addition, she was a charter member of the Denison Historical Society and worked for the McHenry House by serving on fundraising committees, giving tours, as well as cleaning and preserving both the house and its contents.

Opal and Howard loved to travel and see new places. Over the years they visited all fifty states, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji Island. They cruised the Alaskan coastline on one trip and through the Panama Canal on another.

Opal's devotion to her family was evident throughout the years by her many hand-made gifts of clothes, quilts, dolls, toys, and numerous counted cross-stitch wall hangings; her delicious home-made rolls, pies, and cookies; her fun-loving willingness to play games, especially cards; and her ever-ready desire to go on golf outings with the children and grandchildren.

She lived a full life--possessing a great sense of humor and always maintaining a positive attitude. She enjoyed the beauty of nature and the joy of spending time with her children and grandchildren, as evidenced by her playing a round of golf with her son, David in Blue Springs, nineteen days before her death, and many rounds during the warm weather with Paul and Linda in Lamoni.

Obituary & Photo is from The Denison Bulletin-Review 
Family links: 
  Howard Elwain Baker (1914 - 2012)*
*Calculated relationship
Woodbine Cemetery
Harrison County
Iowa, USA
Created by: Memories 4 ever
Record added: Jan 03, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103044489
Opal May <i>Ball</i> Baker
Added by: Memories 4 ever
Opal May <i>Ball</i> Baker
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Bev
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