|Birth: ||Sep. 22, 1916|
|Death: ||Aug. 22, 2008|
Gwendolyn Josephine (Yost) Baker, 91, died 7:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, 2008, in the Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Galatia.
Gwendolyn was born Sept. 22, 1916, in Vergennes to Dr. Clark Rolland Yost, a Methodist minister, and his wife, Madeleine Josephine Foulk. Gwendolyn was the eldest of three children, including Paul Wesley Yost and Madeleine Dorothea Yost. Gwendolyn attended elementary schools in several Illinois towns, including Farina, St. Elmo, Carlisle, Lebanon and Benton, graduating from high school in Olney in 1934.
Her parents then moved to Fairfield, where she played clarinet in the city band. She entered McKendree College in the fall of 1934, where she majored in English and graduated in 1938. Her father, Dr. Yost, had become the president of the college in 1933.
Gwendolyn had a graduate course in English at Washington University in St. Louis, after completing he courses at McKendree.
In the fall of 1938, she became a teacher of English at Eldorado Township High School. She and Von L. Baker, who had been hired the year before, were assigned the sponsorship of the junior class play, "Parents and Pigtails." After this came a date at a basketball game in Johnston City, during which time they ran to hear a radio speech by Adolf Hitler. Dating continued and both attended the University of Wisconsin graduate school in the summer of 1940.
On June 24, 1941, Gwendolyn and Von L. were married in the McKendree College chapel, and again attended summer school at the University of Wisconsin, followed by a camping trip through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. In the fall of 1941, they began housekeeping as well as the building of their own home on the corner of Von's parents' farm. Just as the foundation was poured, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, occurred. The draft board allowed Von to finish the year's teaching, which also allowed them to finish enough of the house so as to stand until the end of the war in 1945.
During the war years, Gwendolyn returned to Lebanon to reside with her parents and to teach. Their daughter Cynthia Josephine was born on Nov. 28, 1942. Eventually Gwendolyn was able to join her husband in Tampa, Fla., where he served at McDill Air Base, following three years in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
Following Von's discharge in October 1943, they returned to Eldorado, where he continued his teaching at Eldorado Township High School and Gwendolyn resumed her teaching as well. She sponsored the yearbook with Von and attended the University of Wisconsin another summer for Von to obtain his master's degree.
With the birth of a son, James Andrew on April 20, 1949, Gwendolyn resigned and enjoyed her roles as homemaker and mother until she was asked to teach sixth grade at Washington School in the early '50s. She remained there until she was invited to take over vocal music for the three Eldorado grade schools, including many musical presentations and operettas. Gwendolyn finished her teaching career in eighth grade English at Washington Junior High, and retired in 1979 after 35 years of teaching.
An active involvement in community clubs and activities, as well as church work for the Eldorado United Methodist Church led to a busy volunteer life with Red Cross, past president of Eldorado Women's Club, American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, the Eldorado Garden Study Club, Southern Illinois University Foundation, the Anna Bixby Board, Project Bounce, Eldorado Library Association, McKendree College Foundation, Methodist Women, area chairwoman for Lincoln Academy and a variety of community activities.
She was awarded the Eldorado Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1989. During these years, she also taught her beloved Fidelis Sunday School Class until 1999, when her failing eyesight made it necessary for her to give up teaching completely.
During the retirement years, Gwendolyn enjoyed the art of quilting, knitting and other handmade crafts while Von gardened and made furniture. They traveled extensively and made over 10 trips overseas to a wide variety of countries in Europe, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, the Caribbean Islands, the Greek Islands, Russia, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, as well as traveling all 50 states. Their last cruise to Alaska in 1994 took Gwendolyn back to where Von had been in the beginning of their marriage.
Gwendolyn is survived by her daughter, Cynthia Posegate Anderson of Atlanta, Ga.; her son and daughter-in-law, James A. and Stephanie Baker of Waco, Texas; grandchildren, Anne Schwimley, Catherine LeRuyet, William Posegate, Winston Posegate, Alexander Posegate and Christina Baker; and great-grandchildren, Emma Schwimley, Jack Schwimley, Milan LeRuyet, Julian LeRuyet, Liberty Posegate and Samantha Posegate.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Clark R. and Madeleine Yost; her husband, James Von L. Baker; brother, Paul W. Yost; and sister, Madeleine Stubbs.
Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Eldorado at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008, with the Rev. Julie Allison officiating. Burial will follow at Wolf Creek Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008, at the Watson Funeral Home and 3 p.m. to service time Wednesday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First United Methodist Church of Eldorado.
J. . Von L. Baker (1910 - 2008)*
Wolf Creek Cemetery
Created by: Patricia Leonberger Hoop...
Record added: Sep 01, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29492119