May 23rd 1922 - May 22nd 2012
Although LaVerne Baker found so many things to enrich his life through the years, there was nothing more near and dear to his heart than the family he adored. He was an outgoing and compassionate man with a warm demeanor that drew others near with ease. LaVerne was blessed to spend the best years of his life with his true love with whom he took in so many of the magnificent things life has to offer. He was a dedicated worker and a true patriot who served his country during a time of great need. With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, LaVerne created a brilliant tapestry of memories that will remain a lasting treasure in the hearts of those he deeply loved.
The decade that we often remember as the Roaring Twenties was a great time to be an American as innovation fueled countless changes in nearly every facet of our lives. We celebrated advancements like the refrigerator and the washing machine while Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart took the world of flight to new heights. Motion pictures became available in both color and sound, and the lights of Broadway never shined brighter. Nestled within this unprecedented time was the year 1922 that brought great anticipation to one young couple from Rosebush, Michigan, as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. Their wait was over on May 23rd when their healthy baby boy drew his first breath.
LaVerne was the oldest of eight children born to his parents, Alan and Gertrude (Raymond) Baker, and was raised in the family home in Rosebush alongside his siblings: Lois, Ronald, Mildred, Shirley, Ira, Lester, and Carol Ann. His father worked as a carpenter and farmer while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. As a young man LaVerne learned the value of a strong work ethic working alongside his father both on the farm and doing some carpentry work. In order to earn a little extra money for the family at times he went to the neighbor’s to help milk cows. As a student LaVerne attended a local country school in Rosebush as the traditional schools of today were not available during his generation.
As WWII raged on overseas beginning in the late thirties, America had high hopes of remaining neutral. Those hopes were dashed on December 7, 1941, when the harsh reality of war arrived on our doorstep with the vicious attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor. With no other option, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war the very next day, sending countless young men and women overseas to fight for the preservation of the freedoms we still enjoy today. LaVerne became one of these young men of honor after being drafted into the Army in 1942. He was assigned to field artillery and drove an ambulance while stationed in Italy, accompanied by the chaplain. LaVerne was discharged in 1946.
Life was forever changed for LaVerne when he met the woman with whom he would share the best years of his life. Her name was Olivette Finnerty, and they met through LaVerne’s sister, Shirley. With a desire to build a life together LaVerne and his sweetheart were married on October 20, 1961, in Mt. Pleasant. Olive brought her three children from a previous marriage, David, Sharon, and Gary, into his life, and together they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Marcia. As a father LaVerne was strict when needed, yet he was also helpful whenever his children asked. In his free time LaVerne was a fan of the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Tigers.
Throughout his life there was nothing more important to LaVerne than his loved ones. He and Olive loved visiting the Mackinaw Bridge, and they often went camping, sleeping in the back of their pickup truck. Together they loved dancing, barbecues, and playing euchre. LaVerne also liked fishing with his brother-in-law, Frank Quinn, and he enjoyed visiting the Soaring Eagle Casino where he had many friends.
Our journey will never be the same without LaVerne Baker here as he was kindhearted and friendly to so many within his reach. It was easy to see that he deeply loved his family and was devoted to helping raise children of great character. LaVerne was a man who was content in all things, even when the way before him was not an easy one. As someone who lived in Isabella County throughout most of his life, he made a significant impact in the lives of many. LaVerne will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
LaVerne passed away Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at the Isabella County Medical Care Facility, just hours prior to his 90th birthday. His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 25, at Charles R. Lux Family Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant with Father Loren Kalinowski officiating. He will be laid to rest next to his loving wife, Olivette, at Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant. Memorial contributions may be made to Commission on Aging.
LaVerne is survived by his daughter, Marcia Baker of Ocala, FL; two step-sons, David Timmer of Lansing and Gary (Mary) Timmer of Jacksonville, Fl; eight grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; two brothers, Ira Baker of Mt. Pleasant and Lester (Rose) Baker of Mt. Pleasant; sister, Mildred Borton; and sister-in-law, Eleanor Baker of Oakley.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Olivette; step-daughter, Sharon May; three sisters, Lois Ferrigan, Shirley Eddy, and Carol Ann Brothers; and one brother, Ronald Baker.
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