LOVILIA — Merrill LeRoy Baker, 83, of Lovilia, passed away Friday, March 7, 2014, under the care of Monroe County Hospice at Monroe County Hospital in Albia, from Mesothelioma.
Merrill was born August 15, 1930, to Vern and Pearl (Barnhill) Baker in rural Lovilia. He married Helen Corrick on June 19, 1954, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Albia. They were blessed with five children, Kevin, Jolinda, Kim, Jeff, and Brian.
A graduate of Lovilia High School, class of 1948, Merrill joined the U.S. Army in 1951 during the Korean Conflict, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He worked at Maytag from 1955 until he retired in 1985. He then owned and operated Baker Construction.
Merrill was a member of the Lovilia United Methodist Church, American Legion, Monroe County Cemetery Association, and South Central Iowa Coon Hunter Association. He was on Lovilia City Council, Helping Hands Board, the Northeast Missouri Electric Cooperative Board, and the Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative Board from 1989-2013. He was very involved with Lovilia Babe Ruth and volunteered much of his time to the teams and maintaining the field. He also was active in helping start and build the Welcome Home Soldier Memorial. In 2010, Merrill and his son, Brian, traveled to South Korea for the 60th Anniversary of the Korean Conflict.
Merrill enjoyed being outdoors, playing softball, hunting and fishing, and watching all his grandchildren’s sporting events.
Merrill is survived by his wife Helen Baker of Lovilia; five children, Kevin (Jane Sinnott) Baker of Albia, Jolinda (Ed) Wilson of Lovilia, Kim (Steve) Haluska of Carroll, Jeff (Jamie) Baker of Ankeny, and Brian Baker of Cedar Falls; a special nephew, Greg (Holly) Shelford of Knoxville; ten grandchildren, Ryan (Laura) Wilson of Cedar Falls, Lindsay (Dave) Kamerick of Albia, Adam (Kendra) Haluska of Solon, Carolie (Sean) Mays of Loma Rica, CA, Dustin Baker of Loma Rica, CA, Sean (Shellie) Haluska of Carroll, Kelsey (Andrew) Oswald of Ankeny, Kristin (Curt Mick) Wilson of Lovilia, Blake Haluska of Iowa City, and Brett Baker of Ankeny; nine great grandchildren; and two more expected. He is also survived by three sisters, Norma Barnes and Gayle Hastings both of Lovilia, and Lola (Bob) Ivins of Albia; a brother, Don (Cleo) Baker of Blakesburg; a brother-in-law, Richard Corrick of Adel; and two sisters-in-law, Betty Baker of Des Moines and Hazel Baker of Albia.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Vern and Pearl Baker; a sister, Doris Shelford; two brothers, Jim and Forrest Baker; and a great granddaughter, Brooklyn Kamerick.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Albia; with military rites provided by the American Legion of Lovilia, Albia, and Melrose. A private family burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Lovilia at a later date.
Visitation will be 12-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Tharp Funeral Home in Albia, with Merrill’s family present from 4:30-8 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Welcome Home Soldier Memorial or Lovilia United Methodist Church.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.tharpfh.com.