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BAKER, Jesse Allen (1883-1961)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 1/12/2024 at 15:20:32

Jesse Allen Baker
(July 23, 1883 December 27, 1961)

Rites Here Saturday For Dr. Baker
Dr. J. Allen Baker, 78, professor of chemistry at Simpson College for 45 years, died at his home, 1101 North C Street, Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Baker had been ill for about 3 years, and had returned last Friday from Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, where he had been a patient for several weeks. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Methodist Church, and interment will be in Indianola I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Dr. Baker had served as head of the chemistry department at Simpson for 33 years prior to his retirement in June 1953. He was born and reared in Willamette Valley, Ore., the son of a hardy pioneer family that had crossed the plains by ox cart in the 1840s. His grandfather was a member of the first territorial legislature of Washington. His elementary and high school education was obtained in Lafayette, Ore., and he was graduated from Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore., with a bachelor of science degree in 1905. He received the degrees of bachelor of arts and master of arts from Denison University, Granville, Ohio, in 1906 and 1908, respectively. Continuing his graduate work in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, and the State University of Iowa, he received the degree of doctor of philosophy in chemistry at the latter institution in 1926. Dr. Baker did post-doctoral research at the State University of Iowa during the summers of 1937 and 1939 and at Harvard University during the summer of 1950. He arrived in Indianola on June 13, 1908, in time to begin teaching summer school at Simpson College. He taught here until December 1917 when he entered military service. Under civil service he was assigned to the ordnance department of the army, and under the title of chief Army inspector of ordnance was sent to the Atlas Powder Company Plant, Lake Hopatcong, N. J. After discharge from the Army he became professor of Chemistry at Iowa Wesleyan College, serving from January to August 1919. He then attended the University of Illinois during the 1919 and 1920 school term. Except for a period when he worked at the Ankeny plant during World War II, Dr. Baker served continuously as head of the Simpson College Chemistry Department from 1920 to 1953. He was a research chemist with the United States Rubber Company at the Ankeny plant which concerned itself wholly with the manufacture of 30 and 50 caliber ammunition. He also served as instructor of V-12 Navy students at Lawrence College, Appleton, Wis., during the war. Dr. Baker was a past preside of the Iowa Academy of Science, a member of the Science Society of Des Moines, and the American Chemical Society. He was also a past president of the Indianola Lions Club. Honorary scholastic societies of which he was a member included Oake Leaves, local honorary scholastic society of Linfield College; Epsilon Sigma, local honorary scholastic society of Simpson College of which he was a charter member, having helped in its foundation; Phi Lambda Upsilon, honorary chemical society, State University of Iowa chapter; and Sigma Xi, honorary science society, State University of Iowa chapter. Dr. Baker was honored during the 1956 Simpson College commencement when the science reference library in Carver Hall was named after him.
He is survived by his wife and three children: Louis Baker of Panama City, Panama; Allen Baker of Hinsdale, Ill., and Miss Mildred Baker of New Brunswick, N. J. The family is suggesting that any memorials be given to Simpson College. Source Herald-Record & Indianola Tribune, Indianola, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 28, 1961, p.1 & 6.


Warren Obituaries maintained by Karen S. Velau.
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