Delores Baker (1937 - 2018)

Obituary
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Delores LaVaughn Gallion Baker of Anchorage, Alaska, passed away peacefully on Sept. 4, 2018, at Providence Medical Center. Born on Oct. 18, 1937, in Hayti, Mo., she was preceded in death by her father, Sherman Payton Gallion of Caruthersville, Mo.; and her mother, Bonnie Earline Stokes Gallion Burton of Sugar Tree, Tenn. Delores is survived by her husband of 63 years, Lee Edward Baker Sr.; son, Lee Edward Baker Jr.; and daughter, Starr Lyn Baker. She had five grandchildren: Nicholas Joseph Begich III and wife Dharna; Lee Edward Baker III and wife Jayme; Melissa Paige Begich; Elizabeth Ashley Baker Zerhusen and husband Ulrich; and Christopher Stephen Tyler Chance and fiancee Diana Ortega. Delores also had nine great-grandchildren: London Begich-Bal, Parker Begich-Auge, Nicholas Begich IV, Noah Zerhusen, Levi Zerhusen, David Zerhusen, Tovias Zerhusen, Gideon Baker and Olivia Baker. Additionally, she is survived by her brothers, Jackie Gallion and Terry Gallion and wife Teresa; along with many nieces and nephews.
As a child, Delores was out-going and popular. She participated in choir, sang in competitions, competed in sports, and was an A student. Her most beloved childhood activity, however, was being a home missionary in her Missionary Baptist church as a teenager.
Delores and Lee married on Dec. 26, 1954, in Kennett, Mo., and came to Alaska in 1960, after Lee was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base. Lee was later hired by the FAA and the family moved to Anchorage in 1966. A stay-at-home mother and homemaker, she dedicated her heart and soul to her family. She was a leader in every activity her husband and children were in, including president of the FAA wives club, Sunday school teacher, Cub Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader. She had the ability to make strangers feel like family, could host events both effortlessly and flawlessly and had an amazingly elegant sense of style. Hers was the home that all the neighborhood kids would flock to, where she was always ready with food, activities and advice.
It was only when her oldest child headed for college in 1973 that she began a career outside the home. Delores began her career as a records clerk in the L Street Clinic, but in the same leadership style in which she raised her family, she rose to business manager of the Alaska Clinic.
Life events in 1989 took Lee and Delores outside to Florida, where she helped raise grandchildren with the same heart and soul she had poured into her children. Returning to Anchorage in 1999, Delores went on to own Alaska Fetal Imaging, finally retiring in 2008, but according to her it was only so she could focus more on helping to mold and shape her great-grandchildren!
Among her favorite activities were teaching Girls Auxiliary at Muldoon Road Baptist Church, singing with the Sweet Adelines and teaching aerobics. She loved Alaska and couldn't imagine a better place on earth to raise a family. She especially loved sitting by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa, watching the snow fall. She never tired of exclaiming how beautiful it was and would call us to the window to watch it with her.
Delores fought a courageous extended battle with congestive heart failure. She will be remembered by everyone who knew her for her radiant smile, genteel southern grace, compassion for children, great love of her family and an even greater love of the Lord.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018.
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Sept. 6, 2018