Gwendolyn Arlee Baile, 94, died at her home at the Forum at Knightsbridge Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.
Everyone who knew Gwen loved and admired her, and no wonder – she was beautiful and brainy, a loving wife and mother and a vivacious hostess to the many friends and relatives who made their way to her door. No one will ever forget her barbecue sauce, chicken and noodles, bran muffins and potato salad. Or the fact that no one could beat her at Scrabble!
Gwen was born May 19, 1918, in Cardington, Ohio, to Paul and Ordena Benson. Her first job was in Columbus, at Travelers Insurance. By then, she'd already met the love of her life, Ken Baile. They eloped on Christmas Eve in 1937 and spent the next 74 years together before Ken's death earlier this year. Gwen and Ken were members of the "Greatest Generation." They worked hard, saved their money and with their old-fashioned values, raised four children. Gwen, or "Bucky", as Ken called her, was always full of "spunk and vinegar." She especially loved the travel that Ken's 30-year career in the Air Force required. No matter where they landed, she would always seek work or volunteer in some way to help her community. In Alaska, she was a Grey Lady; she also proved to be a whiz in managing educators' and physicians' offices in Maryland and Colorado.
After retiring in Columbus, Gwen spent nearly two decades as a volunteer at the Trading Post at the First Community Church. During all this time, Gwen and Ken were also building a second career in real estate acquisition and management, a venture that took up much of their energy after Ken retired from Ohio State.
Gwen lived a long, splendid life marked by grace, integrity, and pluck. Who else would have decided that the best way to move the family back to the lower 48 from Anchorage would be to hitch a ride on a tiny boat that ferried mail out to the Aleutian Islands? While the rest of us retched below, there she was topside, face to the wind and the rain, loving the swell of the sea, a big smile on her face, always looking for adventure.
She is survived by her brother, Leonard Benson of Cardington, and her children, Sandra and (Bob) Plastridge; Michelle Gailiun, Susan Baile, Stephen and (Joyce) Baile, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Family will receive friends Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 1 p.m. until the time of the memorial service at 2 p.m. at SCHOEDINGER NORTHWEST CHAPEL, 1740 Zollinger Rd., Columbus. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Gwen's memory to HomeReach Hospice, c/o Ohio Health Foundation, 180 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215. To share memories of Gwen, visit www.schoedinger.com.
Published in The Morrow County Sentinel on Oct. 30, 2012