Joseph M. Baker 1913-1930
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 4/14/2020 at 23:09:16
Joseph Merle Baker
(April 23, 1913 – February 23, 1930)
Pomeroy Herald, Pomeroy, Iowa, Thurs., Feb 27, 1930, p.1, col.2
The Passing of Merle Baker
A veil of gloom and sorrow hung over this entire community when the serious illness of Merle Baker became known, but this gloom and sorrow settled, it became visible in every face, audible in every voice, and found its way into every heart when the news of the death of the well-known and well-beloved boy reached Pomeroy and vicinity.
Joseph Merle Baker was the second youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Baker of this town. He was born April 23, 1913 on a farm near Pomeroy. At the time of his death he had reach the age of sixteen years and ten months. At the age of five, Merle began his attendance at St Mary’s school, which he continued regularly and dutifully for eleven years. The good conduct and constant diligence which he manifested throughout his career at the parochial school, endeared him to all of his teachers, and when he graduated from the course offered at St. Mary’s in the spring of 1929, his teachers were pleased and proud of the brilliant boy who was leaving their tutorage. The peerless honesty, the filial submission, the excellent scholarship, and the winning personality which manifested themselves in his early childhood, were duly developed during boyhood.
In September of 1929, Merle entered the Pomeroy high school as a senior. His noble character and exceptional mental abilities were soon discovered. He was a leader in all of his classes. The teachers and students of the Pomeroy high school were readily attracted by the rare and exemplary attributes of the gifted youth. In the realms of sports, Merle also played the role of leader. His skill and ability led him to a place in the first team of the football squad, and his perseverance merited for him the honor of becoming a Letter Man. For the past few weeks, Merle had been ailing, but his uncomplaining nature and brace spirit resisted all indispositions. In spite of pain and discomfort, he continued his work at school and his duties at home. On Monday, February 17, the pain became severe and alarming. Medical examination proved that the patient was suffering from Mastoid. He was immediately taken to the hospital at Fort Dodge, and an operation was performed. All the care, skill and remedies that loving and devoted minds could procure or suggest were bestowed upon the suffering lad, but the illness proved to be beyond human power. On February 21, at 1:30 a.m. the soul of Merle entered the realms of eternity to accept the reward that Almighty God gives to those who serve Him in this life. “Gather the roses ere they fade!” How potently that quotation speaks when considering the passing of Merle Baker! He was in the bloom of youth; his soul had not been sullied in the mire of sin and crime; his character was equipped with all the makings of a perfect gentleman; unusual virtues adorned the soul of the lad. A divine Master, and an all-knowing Father in heaven viewed this work of His creation, and may we not believe that He, who saw also the future of this brilliant boy, decided to “Gather the roses ere they fade”? It is seldom that piety and filial obedience is so fully developed in a young man as it was in the character of Merle. He was a staunch Catholic. The services scheduled for St. Mary’s church, found in Merle a faithful and regular attendant. The services of a less obligatory nature, during which time other youths indulged in worldly pursuits and sought peace and happiness elsewhere, brought Merle to his parish church. The activities intended for the benefit of the church, again found in Merle a faithful cooperator and ardent promoter. Even as a child, Merle’s fidelity and doing his part as a Server at the Altar, has caused a frequent repetition of: “Merle, you were always my standby,” by his pastor.
Final obedience – that virtue which is almost unknown to youth of today was carefully observed throughout the lifetime of the departed. The words of counsel from parents, pastor and teachers were law to him and respected as such. One of the most striking traits of Merle’s character was his unlimited esteem and reverence for his pastor and spiritual director, Father Neppel. From his first associations with his pastor, he regarded him as his ideal, and in his young manhood, his affections went out to his reverend friend with all the ardor of youth. In his last sickness and pain he warmly welcomed the visits of his esteemed friend and was visibly comforted and gratified by the presence of his beloved pastor. Merle will be sorely missed by all. Time and tide can never fill the vacancy that this departure made in his home, among the devoted members of his family. The hope of a future reunion is the only comfort and solace allotted to his bereaved father, mother, brothers and sisters. He will be missed by the facility and students of St. Mary’s school; his was a grateful student, and he appreciated the efforts of his teachers. The latter always referred to Merle as an example of diligence and loyalty. When his successes and honors were lauded and rehearsed, he pointed to St. Mary’s school as his cause. He will be missed by the Pomeroy high school faculty and students; in his brief attendance there, his congeniality and matchless personality won for him a host of friends. On Monday morning, February 24, the remains were brought to St. Mary’s church. The funeral services were conducted by Reverend Father Neppel. A Requiem High Mass was celebrated. The choir rendered the beautiful and inspiring “Mass for the Departed” as prescribed by the Catholic Church. John Doyle, a former class mate of the deceased, sang the final text in the solemn liturgical chant of which the following is the translation: “May the angels lead thee into Paradise; May the Martyrs receive thee at thy coming – and take thee to Jerusalem, the Holy City. May the choirs of angels receive thee, and mayst thou, with once poor Lazarus Have everlasting rest.” In a beautiful and touching manner, Father Neppel spoke of the passing of Merle Baker. His eulogy was consoling and instructive. The church was filled to capacity, and crowds were unable to find accommodation, and were forced to stand outside. The casket was borne to its last resting place by six of the seniors of the Pomeroy high school, the class mates of the departed: William Webster, Norman Runge, Harold Briggs, Charles Shinker, Carl Johnson and George Faulkner. Besides the sorrowing parents, the deceased is survived by the following brothers and sisters: Oliver, Arnold, Earnest, Maurice, Veronica, Eldora and Marie. Relatives from a distance who attended the funeral were: Mr. and Mrs. John Becker, Sioux Rapids; Mr. and Mrs. John Stein, Rolfe; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Stein, Rolfe; Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Baker, Rockwell City; Mr. and Mrs. Jake Highhaeger, Rockwell City; Mr. and Mrs. Alex Stumpf, Rockwell City; Mr. and Mrs. Zeno Hailmen, Rockwell City; Miss Helen Beker, Pocahontas; Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hudek, Pocahontas; Mr. and Mrs. Richard McCormick, Pocahontas; Mr. and Mrs. John Ollinger and family, Pocahontas; Mr. and Mrs. John Hammers, Pocahontas, Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Peiffer and family, Fonda; Mr. and Mrs. Harley Hogan, Fonda; Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Peiffer, Fonda; Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Peiffer, Fonda; Mr. Matt Peiffer, Fonda; Mrs. Charles Strong and family, Jolley; Mr. and Mrs. Sam Grahner, Keota; Mr. Earl Baker, Keota; Mrs. Charles Breinen, Ames. Business places were closed on the forenoon of the day of the funeral, for all the people of Pomeroy were desirous to pay their respects to the noble boy who was so unexpectedly called from their midst. The sympathy of the entire community is extended to the sorrow-stricken family and relatives of the dear departed. The many floral offerings of the friends of the family as well as the many spiritual offerings, are a proof of the esteem in which the departed was held. May the memory of this noble and undefiled career with us, be a spur for our imitation. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him; and may he rest in peace!
Calhoun Obituaries maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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