Kenneth Lee Baker, De Smet, died Sunday October 26, 2014 at the age of 84. A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, October 30, 2014, 10:30 A.M. at the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, De Smet, with Reverend Marty Reynhout officiating. Burial will follow at the De Smet Cemetery. Visitation hours are scheduled for Wednesday from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Osthus Funeral Home in De Smet.
He was born June 1, 1930, to parents Fred and Mildred Baker, in Pittsfield, MA. As a young man, Ken joined the Army and served in the Korean War. During this time, he was joined with Janet Del Gallo and had eight children.
Kenny met Mary Ellen (Johnston) Smith and they were married in 1977. Mary’s five children blessed Ken with a full “baker’s dozen” (13); and he loved them all. Ken had a special helper in his later years, to take him to his doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and any other daily chores, his stepson-in-law Don who he jokingly called his “seeing eye dog”; because he was so important to Ken, but he thought of him also, as his own son.
Ken drove cross country for most of his life and loved sharing stories of what he’d seen. In later years he spent time on a cattle ranch, did maintenance work for the Cottage Inn and worked behind the counter at the General Store (where all the kids in town HAD to go see “Kenny Rogers”). He and Mary also managed the Freeman Hotel in Freeman and Kingsbury County Country Club in DeSmet.
Ken enjoyed watching old movies and read thousands of westerns and mysteries. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed the fellowship of his senior golf buddies. He regularly attended Church at the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church with Mary, Robyn, Don and Kristin. He and Mary loved kicking up their heels at local dances. They loved both kinds of music: Country and Western.
Other things Ken enjoyed was traveling with Mary, taking her to places she had always wanted to go. They especially enjoyed their trips to Pittsfield, MA to see Ken’s siblings and extended family. On one of these ventures they took the scenic route home, through Nashville adding the Grand Old Opry as one of their favorite memories.
Ken and Mary had a special bond with their granddaughter Kristin. As her biggest fans, they travelled all over the state to attend her many sporting events, drama, and cheerleading right on through college.
Those grateful for sharing his life are his granddaughter, Kristin Aanenson, DeSmet; his children: Jan Carter, WA.; Karyn Wood, MT.; Kenn (Kathy)Baker, MD.; Jay Baker, MT.; Kerry (Carol) Baker, MT.; Joel (Susan) Baker, MT.; Jackie (Larry)Faulk, WA.; and Margaret “Kelly” Woen, TX; his stepchildren; Jerry (Corky)Smith, IA; Tom Smith, Volga; Rita Smith, MN.; Robyn (Don) Flickinger, DeSmet; Roxane “Sam” Aanenson (Dennis Tower); DeSmet; his siblings; Ruth Ditore, FL.; Mildred Ketcham, MA.; Lawrence “Butch”(Rose)Baker, MA.; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, his friends and church family.
He was preceded in death by his wife: Mary; parents: Fred and Mildred Baker; his siblings: Fred, Claudia, Constance, and Edward, and a step-granddaughter, Chassity.
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