Mary Ann Witte Baker passed away peacefully at Great River Medical Center on Friday, April 23, 2021.
Mary Ann was born in 1927 in Burlington, Iowa to William and Hazel Witte. A Catholic and lifelong member of the St. Paul’s Church/Divine Mercy Parish community, Mary Ann attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and graduated with a bachelor’s in Sociology from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York. Upon graduation she met Robert W. “Bob” Baker of Montclair, N.J., and they were wed in 1951. They moved to San Antonio, Texas for Bob’s military service in the Air Force during the Korean War. They returned to Burlington in 1954 where they raised their eight children.
Mary Ann loved Burlington and was active in many arts, educational and civic and charitable organizations throughout her life. She was a founding member of the Burlington Fine Arts League, board member of the Witte Foundation, and a supporter of Burlington Civic Music Association, Notre Dame School, Mercy Hospital, Des Moines County Historical Society, Hope Haven, Birthright of Burlington, and the Des Moines County Republican Party.
Mary Ann was a devoted and beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. She had a passion for music, travel, international cultures, art and antiques, auctions and “a bargain.” She was an avid sports fan (Go Cubs!), a bridge and mahjong player, piano player, and tennis player. She loved being “on the water” whether on the Mississippi, at Crystal Lake or on a cruise going anywhere. A gracious hostess, Mary Ann cherished her friends and family and enjoyed planning travel, events and entertaining. She was always up for a party, picnic, game or boat ride.
Late in life Mary Ann was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a neurodegenerative brain disease, and she participated in an extended disease study program conducted by the Mesulan Center for Cognitive Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago. Despite this diagnosis, up until a few months before her death, she continued to enjoy playing the piano, “reading” The Hawkeye and working her daily Suduko puzzle. The family is grateful to the caregivers and doctors who made it possible for Mary Ann to continue to live in her home, especially to Sarah Buras and her team for their years of dedicated service.
She is survived by her eight children and (spouses): Susan (Rick Swanson), Ann (Craig Black), Stephen (Jane Brennan Baker), Alan (Mamie Kirkland Baker), Bruce (Kelli Harris Baker), David (Maureen McDonald), Julie (Joe Piazza), and Karen (Tom Rogers); 15 grandchildren and (7 great grandchildren): Lily Swanson Jackson (Sadie and Sam), Clare Baker Schell (Charlotte), Harrison Baker, Lauren Baker, Andrew Baker, Natalie Baker Jamieson, Melissa Piazza, Mallory Baker Skarica (Owen and James), Rachael Rogers Pritzl (Max and Ted), Elisabeth Baker, Nicholas Piazza, Hannah Black, Tom Rogers Jr., Elliott Baker and Jim Rogers; her sister Nancy Witte Jacobs, sister-in-law Rosemary Senn Witte, and seven nieces and nephews.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by her ex-husband Bob, her parents, brother William Witte Jr. and her children’s caregiver and lifelong helper, Agnes Wilson.
Mary Ann, or Mimi as she was affectionately called, was the heart of the Baker family. Known for her wonderful smile, infectious laugh, love of Christmas, birthdays and all celebrations, she will be greatly missed and cherished forever. May she rest in eternal peace.
Prugh Funeral Service is in care of arrangements.
Covid-19 precautions will be followed including masking and social distancing for all who attend.
Visitation will be at the church one hour prior to the service on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Divine Mercy Parish-St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
The Funeral Mass of the Resurrection for Mrs. Baker will be 11:00 AM Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Divine Mercy Parish-St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with Very Rev. Father Marty Goetz, and Rev. Father David G. Steinle as the Celebrants. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. A live-stream of the funeral mass will be available to view by visiting the Divine Mercy Parish Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Divine-Mercy-Parish-157944747552559 .
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mary Ann’s honor may be made to Burlington Notre Dame Foundation, Hope Haven, Birthright of Burlington, and Burlington Civic Music Association.
To send flowers to Mary Ann (Witte) Baker's family, please visit our floral store.