Don Baser, husband and father, passed peacefully April 25. He lived a full life growing up in Missouri on the family farm and later moved to Washington at a very early age. Dad shared that his father, Raymond, told him that he needed to go to work. With so many Baser kids in Missouri it was time for Donald to make his own way. A man had to take accountability for his own well-being.
He left Missouri behind during a Great Depression. Life in rural Peace Valley, Missouri included cattle, mules, horses, dogs, hunting for birds, rabbit, squirrel, and running fox. He had a lifelong passion for hunting, fishing, and farming. Missouri was always home for dad in so many ways. He left behind a lot of friends and family; including his twin sister Dorothy, who he was always closely connected by heart, even if separated by miles and states.
Dad was a worker. Rail thin and a man that could eat his fair share of food every day. A meal was never complete without gravy, whole milk from the barn, bread, butter, and meat. Breakfast always involved cream from the barn. Buttermilk was a special treat along with rhubarb pie. A favorite he learned to love from his mom Georgia’s baking.
Over the years he worked for George Higgins in Grandview on the dairy as a very young man milking cows and hauling milk in cream cans to town. The Higgins family was insistent that he go to school but, that plan did not last long. Even with a minimal formal education dad loved to read the paper (daily until his eyes failed him) and he was mathematically minded. Mostly, figuring out costs and inputs for the farm in his head at the kitchen table or in the field. Dad loved to play cribbage, pinochle, and blackjack. Later he worked factory jobs in the lower valley and drove tractor in the Bickleton area. He joined the Army in early 1947 and served in Alaska until his Honorable Discharge as an MP in June of 1948. His beloved brother Mancil had been killed in action in the Philippines in 1945. Dad was glad to serve his country and liked being a MP. He continued to wear his army issued Alaska mittens for years during the cold winters in the lower valley, feeding cows and working outside. He moved to Chicago after the service to work at a chocolate factory. He was in Chicago at the same time as Bettie Pearl Denton, a neighbor girl from back home in Missouri. Mom was working as a secretary and living with her sisters (Gen and Pauline). Dad and mom were married on December 16, 1950 in Chicago. They were married 70 years!
He was passionate about his animals and owned horses, cows, and there was always a bird or cow dog around. After some time living in Grandview, and later owning property in Green Valley, dad and mom purchased a dairy on Highway 22 in Mabton. Dad’s dislike of Jersey disposition quickly transitioned the farm to milking Holsteins. He loved the cows and missed them for many years after retirement. He loved to drive tractor, truck, change water with a shovel, pipe, and wheel lines. Dad would be at the barn by 4:00 a.m. to talk to Larry or J.D. (or a hired man), check the tank for volume, check for cows that needed breeding that day, and drank coffee, usually black but, many times with a squirt of milk from the cows that were in the parlor that day. Plans were usually made for the day so, that when a short milking break was completed by the son with the morning shift, they could join the family in whatever event would occur late morning and into the afternoon. There was nothing better than sitting on the porch looking at the cows, crops, or a lightning storm.
Don is survived by his wife Bettie and his sisters Dorothy, Twila, and Margie. He is also survived by his three children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Paula and Steve Sainsbury are parents to Chad, Amanda and Joe Ballard, Laura and Jake Merrill (Ruby and Macy), Rebecca and Sam Johnson (Gabriel), Stephanie and Scott Adams (Emma and Mason). Larry and Nancy Baser are parents to Christy and Travas Kammerzell (Travas, Halan, and Gavyn), Lyndell and Nick Miller (Charlie and Joey), Tristan Baser (Dillon and Olivia), Amber and Danny Perry (Danny and Meagan), Ashley and Alama Suarez (Jocelyn), Kaitlen and Graham Hughes (Scarlett). J.D. and Lisa Baser are parents to Jack and Ladd. Don was preceded in death by his parents Georgia and Raymond Baser, brother Mancil, sisters Orelia, Bernadine, Nila, an infant sister (Georgia) and an infant brother.
Dad was civic minded and spent 32 years as a Mabton School Board member. He was a longtime member of Wanita Grange and the Mabton Lions Club. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made to Mabton FFA for convention travel. Dad traveled to National FFA Convention several times with the Mabton FFA Chapter and saw great value in the organization and student leadership.
Mabton FFA Chapter (c/o: Jennifer Harris)
P.O. Box 38
Mabton, WA 98935
A graveside service with military honors will be on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the Outlook Cemetery in Outlook, WA. Those wishing to sign Don’s online memorial book may do so at the www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Homes in care of arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John (Don) Donald Baser, please visit our floral store.