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Doris Ladd


07/29/1915 - 07/29/2014 Obituary
Doris Ladd Obituary
Doris Alene Baker Ladd died peacefully at home on July 29, 2014, her 99th birthday. With nearly a century of abundant life, Doris raised cotton and children, taught a generation of students, and became a successful businesswoman.
She was born in 1915 in Larned, Kansas, a small farming village near the fort that once guarded the Old Santa Fe Trail. Doris was the first of three children born to Ed and Lizzie Baker, themselves descendants of the stoic German-speaking farmers known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. In 1919, the final year of World War I, Ed and Lizzie packed up the family and headed to the Far West by train where they first moved to Fresno and then settled in McFarland.
Like her ancestors, Doris was a farm girl, accustomed to hard work and long days. From an early age, she was also smitten with the magical voice of the violin, and she spent one hot summer picking grapes to earn money to buy her own. She learned to play violin quickly and soon joined the school orchestra.
Smart and disciplined, Doris sailed through high school, graduating a full year early in 1932. Two years later she earned an Associates degree from Bakersfield Junior College and eagerly applied to attend UC Berkeley. The best public university in the West welcomed such a talented student, and she studied music interpretation and foreign languages for a semester while working for room and board.
But Doris was unhappy in Berkeley. She had left behind a charming young McFarland man named Jay B Ladd, and their romance pulled her back home. Though it was the middle of the Great Depression, the young couple put their faith in the future and married in 1936. For almost sixty years, Jay would be her best friend and devoted husband.
The busy poultry farm on which they first lived in Livingston soon rang with children's laughter first with the arrival of their daughter Edmona, and later with sons Dorin and Sheldon.
Decades before it was fashionable, Doris was a "working mom," and she put as much energy into her children as the farm. She somehow found time to be the president of the Band Club, lead a Girl Scout troop, hold office in the PTA, serve as a room mother 11 times and be honored as the Future Farmers of America's 1959 Mother of the Year. A woman of deep faith and commitment , Doris served at McFarland Methodist Church, volunteering as secretary and teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school. What time she had left she gave to the Women's Society and the Official Board. The mayor of McFarland recognized her devotion to her own children and the children of the community with the 1968 McFarland Mother of the Year Award.
Always a passionate believer in the power of education, Doris returned to school at the age of 54 and earned a teaching degree from Fresno State College. She taught the fourth graders of McFarland for 10 years. A generation of children would later remember the outstanding "Mrs. Ladd."
At an age when many people are ready to retire, Doris continued to explore new ventures. In 1979, she and Jay sold the farm and bought a laundromat in Bakersfield. Farmer, wife, mother, teacher, and now successful businesswoman, Doris helped run Jay's Wash Palace for 15 years, often working until 1 a.m. while still commuting to McFarland to teach. During this time she and Jay even found time to take up golf and horseback riding.
Doris was 80 years old before she finally decided to slow down a bit and retire in 1994. She then enjoyed many years watching her family expand with the addition of seven great-grandchildren as well as being active in church. Her hard-working, pious Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors surely would have approved.
Doris was preceded in death by her husband, Jay Ladd, and son, Sheldon Ladd, and brothers Otha (Elsie) and Eldon (Ruby) Baker. Doris is survived by her daughter Edmona Mashburn, son Dorin (Joyce) Ladd, daughter-in-law Carol (Sheldon) Ladd; grandchildren Mark (Marcy) Ladd, Kathy Mashburn, Charleen (Richard) Ruffel, Lisa (Tom) Fike, Kristin (John) Brown, Cheri (Tim) Ladd LeCain, and Scott (Michele) Ladd; great-grandchildren Mason and Matthew Ladd, Addison and Macie Ladd, Raymond Fike, and Carina and Daniel LeCain.
A memorial service will be held at Church of the Brethren in Bakersfield, Sat., August 16, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with luncheon afterward. A small graveside service will take place at 9:00 at North Kern Cemetery in Delano.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Aug. 10, 2014
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