BAKER, Helen Helen Baker was born on September 18, 1925. She was the fourth child and third daughter of Leon John and Evantheia Palate. She was born and raised in Lethbridge where she also received most of her education. Before she actually graduated from high school, she went to work as a secretary or a stenographer. She did that until the late 1940’s when she met and married her husband, Edgar Chad Baker. As a child, she learned how to knit, which remained a love of hers most of her life. Another love of Helen’s was sports and she was an accomplished swimmer and roller skater. More than once, she swam across Henderson Lake in Lethbridge. She also competed successfully in roller skating competitions, perhaps being the Shae-Lynn Bourne of her time. Her parents owned the Candy Kitchen in Lethbridge and each of the children were expected to help out in the store. Perhaps their favourite memories were of the weeks in preparation for the Christmas sales as her parents, Leon and Eva, made candy canes by hand. Not only could they mould the soft candy into perfect canes, they could make animals and other shapes out of the warm toffee. One year, Leon even made a five foot high, twenty-five pound candy cane for the truant officer who was going to retire in the spring. Not quite a year after her marriage to Ed, their first child, Geri was born. She was followed by Dick, Wayne and Judi over the next eight years. At first Helen was a stay at home mom either in Lethbridge, while Ed worked on the railroads or while on the cattle ranch outside of Pincher Creek. After a serious farming accident, Helen cared for her sick husband and her ailing parents, all while trying to raise her own four children and working full time for the City of Lethbridge. Soon Ed was hospitalized in the Colonel Belcher in Calgary. Later Helen moved her family to Lacombe and it was at this time that Helen’s love for gardening grew with each of her new rock gardens. She became known in Lacombe and Red Deer for her award winning gardens, especially her rock gardens. While living in Lacombe and later Red Deer Helen became involved in Sunday School and the Girl Guides until her children were almost grown. She was finally able to pursue her desire to be her own boss when she became the owner of the Knitting Bee in Red Deer. Her creativity flourished as she created new patterns for knitting, crocheting, and macrame patterns for her clientele. Her time in business for herself was short-lived because she did not have the time she needed to spend time with her customers, develop her patterns and teach the classes she loved to teach. She was able to sell the business to a friend of hers and moved to Edmonton where she returned to working as a receptionist. It was at this time that she became determined to get her grade twelve and go on to university. She really enjoyed being a student once again, even if most of the students were young enough to be her children. When she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, she moved to east central Alberta to teach senior high business options and, later, back in Red Deer, ESL and young adult career training. Again Helen became active with helping others and joined the Legion Auxiliary. Through her involvement in the Legion, she helped give food hampers to those in need and volunteered to help at various functions. The last years of her life on her own were ones of spending time with her friends, playing cards and discussing the important issues of the day. However, as her battle with Alzheimer’s progressed, she forgot more and more names and dates. In March 1999, Helen moved into the Country Lodge Active Senior Living Complex in Innisfail. Then, as the disease progressed further taking more of her memory, Helen’s health worsened so she was moved to Rosefield Centre where she received the best care that could have been provided for her as she rested for the last years of her life. She was at peace, but still had that mischievous glint in her green eyes and she loved to be teased, or even to tease, if the opportunity arose.
A Thought for Mothers
By Helen Baker
You tried to teach your children
Of God’s wondrous love and care.
You even tried to teach us
Of our constant need for prayer.
You tried your best to guide us
In our school and work and play.
You tried to soothe and comfort
Our pains from day to day.
You tried to teach us kindness
And little courtesies to show.
You tried to feed and clothe us
Strengthen our bodies so they’d grow.
You tried to give us shelter
In a home where we belonged.
You tried to teach us morals
Let us know what’s right or wrong.
And you knew we’d not be perfect
As to adulthood we’d grow.
In God’s hands you left our future
We must ourselves our Saviour know.
The Bible says, in Psalm 116: 15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Mom, you were precious to us in life; now you are precious to Him in death. Be at peace. Know you are much loved and dearly missed but we know you are happier there. Helen is survived by daughter Geri (George) Thompson of Innisfail, son Dick Baker of Calgary; son Wayne Baker of Edmonton and daughter Judi (Ron) Wood of Slave Lake; 5 Grandchildren; Chad Baker of Prince George, Amanda Baker of Vancouver, Kristy Dolha of Vancouver, and Tyler and Tyson Thompson of Innisfail; and 1 great grandchild Jamie Baker of Prince George. Helen was predeceased her husband Edgar Chad Baker on January 2, 1969 and her parents Leon John and Evantheia Palate; sisters Mary Palate, Betty Palate and brother John Palate. Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at Metcalf Funeral Chapel on Sunday, February 13, 2005 from 7:00 to 8:00pm.
If friends so desire memorial tributes may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Alberta 220, 2323 – 32nd Ave. N.E. Calgary, AB. T2E 6Z3 or to the Rosefield Centre, 5023 42nd Street, Innisfail AB. T4G 1A9. Funeral services will be held Monday, February 14, 2005 at 2:00 pm at Metcalf Funeral Chapel, Innisfail AB. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Metcalf Funeral Chapel, 4200 49th Ave, Innisfail AB. Phone: 227-3123.