Marian E. Baker, 99, passed away on March 24, 2013, after a long illness. She had been a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish for 77 years. She moved to Poteau from Kansas City, Mo., in 1935 with her husband, the late Dr. Wilbur K. Baker, DDS, and their 1-year-old son, Kermit. She has five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
There were only seven Catholics in the parish when Marian arrived in Poteau. She quickly started wearing many “hats.” She became the parish organist — playing for all Sunday masses, weddings, funerals, etc. In addition, Marian became the choir director and also for many years organized a children’s choir. In addition, she became the bookkeeper and treasurer for three parishes, Poteau, Stigler and Spiro. This involved counting all collections, making bank deposits and paying all bills. She did this by hand for 50 years and then learned to use a computer.
Over the years Marian helped purchase, prepare and serve the food for all the funeral dinners.
During her 77 years of parish service, Marian worked with 18 different priests who were fresh out of the seminary. She helped them become seasoned pastors.
Marian was very sociable and never met a stranger. She had the ability to make all visitors and parishioners feel welcome and comfortable. She had been called the “matriarch” of the parish.
At age 86 Marian survived colon cancer which involved surgery and chemotherapy. She slowed down and by age 92 stopped doing bookkeeping — treasurer for 3 parishes.
In 2008 Marian was honored by being named as the “ Woman of Achievement” in the entire Diocese of Tulsa.
She is survived by her son, Dr. W. Kermit Baker II, M.D., of Fayetteville, Ark.; a niece, Barbara Lasta of Kansas City; a nephew, William Hansen of Kansas City; five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, at Immaculate Conception Church in Poteau.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to a memorial at the Immaculate Conception Church, PO Box 237, Poteau, OK 74953.
You may leave an online message at evansandmillerfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements under the direction of Evans and Miller Funeral Home.
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