Funeral Service for Darlene “Dolly” Baker age 90 of Neligh, Nebraska will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at St. Francis Catholic Church in Neligh, Nebraska with Father Pat Nields, Officiating. Visitation was from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Monday, December 18, 2023 at St. Francis Catholic Church with Wake service at 7:00. Burial was in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Neligh.
Condolences may be directed to the family at www.beyersnidermemorialfh.com
Darlene (Dolly) Baker, 90, of rural Neligh entered into her Father’s kingdom on December 14, 2023, surrounded by loved ones following a brief illness.
Dolly was born on February 1, 1933, in Petersburg, NE, to William and Julia (Julich) Leifeld, the youngest of eight children. Her father died when she was only four years old leaving her mother to raise the family. Dolly attended all twelve years of school at St John’s Catholic School in Petersburg, NE, graduating in 1951. In February 1951, she met the love of her life, Gordon (Feller) Baker outside a dance in Petersburg, NE. Due to Feller’s polio their marriage was delayed, marrying on February 18, 1952, at St. John’s rectory in Petersburg, NE. To this union, six children were born: Elizabeth, Katherine, Jane, Jennifer, Mathew, and Angela.
Dolly was a farm wife, through and through. She was devoted to her husband, her family, her church, her community and the family farm supporting Feller in growing the family farm. In November of 1970 they moved to the Baker Family Farmstead where she would live until her passing. Dolly was famous for her culinary prowess. No one turned down her offer of staying for a meal or a piece of pie. Over the years a multitude of people enjoyed sitting at her dining or kitchen tables to include family, salesmen, priests, farm help, her kids’ friends and family friends. No one ever left her house hungry. In addition to always preparing the next meal, she kept busy with her hobbies such as crocheting, embroidery, and making Christmas ornaments. Many loved ones enjoy using her hand embroidered dish towels, hanging her homemade ornaments, and snuggling under an afghan. In addition to these hobbies Dolly also enjoyed doing crossword puzzles and watching Jeopardy.
Dolly was involved in the community as a member of the St. Francis Rosary Sodality. She also volunteered at the church where she cleaned the rectory, assisted with Meals on Wheels, worked dozens of funeral dinners, and assisted priests in Mass at the Neligh Nursing Center for over 20 years. In the community she volunteered with distributing commodities, Toys for Tots, and worked on the Election Commission.
As a farm wife, she spent her days caring for her family, running errands, and fielding calls from happy Antelope county residents calling to discuss road conditions with Feller when he was a supervisor. Caring for her family was her greatest passion. Dolly spent countless hours making sure that family was always taken care of. This included long walks with the grandkids catching pollywogs, playing bingo with the grandkids and scrabble or trivial pursuit with her adult kids, baking cookies, organizing family get togethers, nurturing her family, and teaching the valuable lesson that “things are just things, it’s loved ones that count.” She loved sitting on the swing in front of her home and enjoying the landscape, often remarking, “this is the best place on earth.” Her motto: “whatever you do, do with your might, things done by halves are never done right” rings in her kids ears multiple times a week.
Dolly is preceded in death by her parents and all of her siblings, losing her older sister Lorraine just days prior to her own death. Her siblings and their spouses who have passed are: Wilma (Denny) Davis, Eileen(Bim) Froloff, Valentine (Joy) Leifeld, William (Berneda) Leifeld, Lorraine (Ray) Rosane, Gladys Leifeld, and Evelyn Leifeld. Also preceding her in death are her mother and father-in-law, A. Gordon and Katherine Baker.
Dolly is survived by the love of her life and husband of over 71 years, Feller, and her children and spouses, Liz and Greg Luce of Cheyenne, WY; Kate Kypuros and friend, Michael Montilla, of Camano Island, WA; Jane and Gary Clark of Amherst, NE; Jennifer and Mark Ervin of Neligh, NE; Mathew and Becky Baker of Neligh, NE; and Angela Baker and friend, Birol Isbilir, of Omaha, NE. Also surviving her are 17 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and their first great-great grandchild due in January who will be named Everly Darlene in honor of her great-great grandmother. Their legacy will live on for generations.