Keith Baker

Major Willard “Keith” Baker, 88, died Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at the VA Medical Center in Des Moines.

A committal service was held Thursday, Sept. 28 at Iowa Veterans Cemetery. A memorial gathering followed at American Legion Post #403 in Van Meter.

Keith was born Sept. 17, 1929 in Correctionville, to Charles Bartin and Clara (Bice) Baker. He went to school and graduated from Marathon. 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 Vietnam War, retiring as a major in 1969.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, Keith settled in Linn Grove 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, Calif.; five grandchildren: Barac Wiley of St. Paul, Minn.; Nicholas Baker, Chad Baker, Trevor Baker all of the Des Moines area; Bartholomew Baker of Menlo Park, Calif.; six great-grandchildren; sister, Joanne (Vernon) Weeks of Storm Lake. Keith was preceded in death by his brother, Raymond “Dean” 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.