Major Willard “Keith” Baker, 88, died Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the VA Medical Center in Des Moines. A committal service will begin 11 am, Thursday, September 28th at Iowa Veterans Cemetery. A memorial gathering will follow at American Legion Post #403 in Van Meter.
Keith was born September 17, 1929 in Correctionville, IA to Charles Bartin and Clara (Bice) Baker. In 1947 he joined the Army during the end of WWII. Following the war Keith joined the Air Force Reserve and was called up to serve in the Korean War. In 1955 he became an officer and pilot in the US Air Force, serving in the Viet Nam War, retiring as a Major in 1969.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Keith settled in Linn Grove, Iowa, where he lived and farmed for over 30 years. He also served as a State Representative for four years and worked as the Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Iowa. Keith was Past National Vice Commander of the American Legion and an active member and Past President of MOAA. Keith's favorite pastime was to travel the world.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; children: Linda (Jeff Nielsen) Wiley of Newport, KY, Kevin (Lisa) Baker of Ankeny, Kenneth (Sarah) Baker of Menlo Park, CA; 5 grandchildren: Barac Wiley of St. Paul, MN, Nicholas Baker, Chad Baker, Trevor Baker all of the Des Moines area, Bartholomew Baker of Menlo Park, CA; 6 great grandchildren; sister, Joanne (Vernon) Weeks of Storm Lake. Keith was preceded in death by his brother, Raymond and sister, Lois Jeanne.
Memorial contributions may be made to The American Legion Foundation earmarked for Boys State Scholarships, 720 Lyon St., Des Moines, IA., 50309. Online condolences are welcome at www.DesMoinesCremation.com.
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