Our gentle mother, Lauretta Virginia Sooter Baker, died peacefully at her Bozeman home Aug. 17, 2008. She was born at home in Shallowater, Texas, on Oct. 1, 1924. The youngest of 14 children, Lauretta was orphaned at the age of 5 and then raised by her many siblings.
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Lauretta married Wiley Baker on Feb. 1, 1947. Their life together started on a West Texas farm (~20 years) and journeyed through Missoula (~30 years), Piney Flats, Tenn., Shallowater, Texas, and McKinney, Texas. They had been married 59 and one-half years when Wiley passed away in 2006. In 2007 Lauretta moved to Bozeman to live with her daughter. Wiley and Lauretta raised three children and two orphaned nephews.
Her early years during the Depression and Dust Bowl formed in her a hardy and resourceful spirit. Her quick wit and penchant for thinking of fun things to do were well-known by all who knew her. Her spunk was exemplified by her becoming a licensed airplane pilot in the early 1960s.
Mama's loves centered around her family and friends. She was a gracious hostess and an outstanding cook who took serving meals for large gatherings in stride. Being invited to Lauretta's and Wiley's home was indeed a treat. A gifted writer, Lauretta's annual Christmas letters in her unique poetic style were treasured by all who received them.
Lauretta was preceded in death by her husband, Wiley, and her son, Mark.
She is survived by her daughters, Marcia Gaustad of Prosper, Texas, and Kathy (Mike) Tess of Bozeman; nephews, Dan Judd of Albuquerque, N.M., and Clint Judd of Colorado; 14 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
Lauretta and Wiley were generous Christian servants. In lieu of flowers, those donations and memorials may be given to the campus ministry of the Bozeman Church of Christ, 1825 W. Kagy Blvd., Bozeman 59715; or to BANDS Ministry, P.O. Box 1926, Colleyville, TX 76034, which serves disabled children in developing countries. Both ministries were dear to Wiley and Lauretta.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at the Missoula Valley Church, 1528 S. Higgins Ave., Missoula.
Condolences and memories can be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 19, 2008