Lois Read Baker, 99, died of complications from heart failure at St. Clare Friedensheim Assisted Living on September 11, 2021. Lois was born on December 10, 1921, on her family’s homestead cattle ranch near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, to Ethel (Woodgate) and Arthur D. Read. While she was young, her family moved many times, eventually settling in Monroe, Louisiana. Lois earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1943, which is also where she met her future husband, John Betz Baker. The death of her beloved brother, Bill, in the first months of World War II, motivated Lois to join the Army Women’s Medical Corps after graduation. She received training in physical therapy through the Mayo Clinic and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant. She served in army hospitals in England and France, treating wounded soldiers and witnessing the arrival of Nazi concentration camp survivors, then later attending some of the Nuremburg trials. The human devastation and waste that she observed led to her enduring opposition to war. After she returned from Europe in 1946, Lois and John were married in Hawthorne, Nevada, and honeymooned in Death Valley. For the rest of their 67 years of marriage, Lois teased John (rank of Navy Lieutenant (j.g.)), that she outranked him. As soon as her children were old enough to attend school, she practiced physical therapy, and then went back to school in 1981 to earn a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Houston. She taught Physical Therapy until she retired in 1986. Lois enjoyed traveling during retirement, especially to Central America with the group Witness for Peace. She was proud of her anti-war activism with the Presbyterian Peacemakers, and was always happy to be arrested during protests at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA. In her 80th year, Lois combined her lifelong love of nature and her anti-war activism by hiking large sections of the Appalachian Trail to raise money for the removal of landmines in Mozambique. Her husband, who was her trusty quartermaster, organized her travel on and off the trail. Lois and John retired in Houston, Texas, then moved to Monroe, Wisconsin to be close to family. Lois, an active Presbyterian since childhood, enjoyed her membership in Union Presbyterian Church, the Monroe Quilters Guild, volunteer work at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and travel. Lois developed many lasting friendships after moving to Monroe, which she valued greatly.
She is survived by her children, John Douglas (Marilyn) Baker, Nancy Baker (George Vernon), Don Baker (Leslie Gold); her grandchildren, Melissa (Stan) Albright, Jennifer (James) Jazwinski, Claire Leeds (Bill Bevis), Sierra and Juliette Baker; her great-grandchildren, Andrew and Jessica Howard, Charlotte and Eden Levis; her brother, Leslie Read; and her sisters-in-law, Ella Margaret Humble, Margaret “Peggy” Baker and Mary Lou Baker.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John Baker; her son, David; her grandson, Douglas Cameron Baker; her sister, May (Merrill) Brunk; and her brothers, Bill and John (Margie Lee) Read.
A celebration of Lois’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Union Presbyterian Church or the Green County Food Pantry. The Shriner-Hager-Gohlke Funeral Home is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to the family at: shriner111.com.