Michael R. Baker

Michael (Mike) Ray Baker, 73, of Clear Lake died peacefully at the Mayo Clinic after a brief battle with leukemia. In accordance with Mike’s wishes, he was cremated.  

Mike was born Feb. 19, 1949, in Mason City, to Franklin Ray and Ruth Elaine (Jensen) Baker. After attending the Country Schoolhouse at Baker’s Corner through third grade, he transferred to the Clear Lake public school system in town. He graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1967, and attended Luther College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting in 1971. He met his future wife, Mary Gleason, at Luther and they were married on Dec 16, 1972, in Clear Lake. Mike and Mary raised three boys together on the farm.

  Mike worked for three years at an accounting firm in Minneapolis before returning to Clear Lake to farm with his father Frank. Mike and Mary became the fourth generation to operate the Baker Family farm, which was established in 1886 by Benjamin Franklin Baker. 

Mike continued to work for several accounting firms in Mason City during his career, with over 32 years at Williams and Associates. In addition to his accounting and farming careers, he served on the board of the Farmer’s Co-op Elevator for several years. 

Following in his father’s footsteps, Mike served three consecutive terms on the Clear Lake School Board, from 1994 to 2003. He served on numerous other boards and committees throughout the community, including the Clear Lake Arts Council, Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City. 

For 37 years, Mike could be found at the back of the pickup truck selling sweetcorn at the end of the driveway – meeting new people and sharing stories with old acquaintances.

  In recent years, he enjoyed all sorts of travel, from impromptu daytrips with family and friends and date nights with Mary in Minneapolis at the Guthrie Theater, to international adventures in Denmark, Italy, Israel, and beyond. He had a passion for food, and was known to make, share, and enjoy a multitude of desserts. He had a penchant for hospitality, and his spirit of generosity shone through in every interaction he had around town, from visits to the Arts Center, Apple Valley Assisted Living, and Clear Lake Bank & Trust to his daily errands at Hy-Vee and Fareway. Mike and Mary’s bed and breakfast at the family farm on Baker’s Corner allowed him to extend his hospitality to both new friends and old. He found immense joy in meeting every guest that stayed, and often found an opportunity to share stories and a laugh with them around the fire pit. An avid conversationalist, Mike made friends in every facet of his life.

  Mike’s already infectious joy expanded beyond measure upon the arrival of his grandson, Axel Ray last April. Smiles exchanged between the two radiated happiness to all who witnessed.

He is survived by his mother, Ruth Elaine Baker of Clear Lake; his wife Mary Baker of Clear Lake; sons Jeff (Amanda) Baker of Lisbon, Iowa, David (Jamie Puglin) Baker of Cary, N.C., Mark (Shelby Newport) Baker of Flint, Mich.; grandson Axel Ray Baker-Newport; his niece, Heather (John) Eidt of Detroit, Mich.; sister-in-law Connie Espel, of Princeton, Ill.; nephew Robert Espel of Princeton, Ill., and Brian Espel of Chicago, Ill.; and many others. He was preceded in death by his father, Frank; and brother Jon.

A Celebration of Life service was held on Tuesday, Feb 7, at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 213 North Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City, with Rev. Dan Gerrietts officiating.

A memorial visitation was held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at Ward Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 310 1st Ave.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City, the Clear Lake Public Library, and donations to your local blood bank.

Ward Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.



Clear Lake Mirror Reporter

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