Mary Ann Baker (1930 - 2018)

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Longtime former journalist and small business owner, Mary Ann Baker, unexpectedly passed away at her Hillside home on July 25, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska, at the age of 88. Born in Hoople, N.D. to Hjalmer and Emma Heder on March 15, 1930, Mary Ann had 10 brothers and sisters. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and began her career working for the Grand Forks Herald, assisting the women's editor.
When she was 22, an advertisement she saw from the Anchorage Daily News inspired her to write and inquire. She was offered a job that led her to make the journey up north by herself. She worked for the Anchorage Daily News for five years, before moving to the Anchorage Times, where, over the years, she served as business editor, women's editor, and a political writer. During that time she interviewed various well-known female figures in national politics, including First Lady Pat Nixon.
In the 1980s, after 30 years in journalism, Mary Ann chose to branch out and pursue an adventure in the retail world, opening a store in the University Mall called Gaggles. Following her 10 years in retail, she began working for the Anchorage School District as a substitute teacher, where she truly loved working with the kids. Shortly after arriving in Alaska, Mary Ann also began building her own house - a 10-sided "decagon" designed by her good friend, Jackie Horning. She also had many friends help her as the house began to take shape. During that time, she lived in a Jamesway hut for a couple years, until her house was completed.
Mary Ann married Donald Baker of Anchorage in 1968, a marriage that lasted just shy of 50 years, and together they raised their daughter, Heather.
Mary Ann was very involved in her community, including as a member of the Arctic Valley Ski Patrol. Mary Ann was proud to be a lifetime member of the Soroptimist International of Anchorage Cook Inlet.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Donald (2017); as well as her siblings, Vearnice, Leonard, Arvil, Willard, Norris, Harry, Sylvia, Audrey, and Kenneth. She is survived by her daughter, Heather Baker of Anchorage; her twin sister, Anna May Duffy of Columbiana, Ohio; and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews throughout the United States.
In Lieu of a Memorial service, her ashes will be spread, along with her husband's, around her beloved Alaska, where she made her home for 65 years. A celebration of life will be scheduled to be held later this fall.
Funeral Home
Cremation Society of Alaska
1306 E 74th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99507
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Sept. 9, 2018
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