Genevieve Belknap Baker, 104, died April 4, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz., where she and her husband, Carleton Porter Baker, had lived in retirement for many years.
Since 2002 she has lived at The Forum, a retirement community. No funeral service is possible at this time because of the pandemic. Her cremated remains will be buried in Decorah at the Baker family plot in Phelps Cemetery once the family is able to gather.

Genevieve was born Dec. 21, 1915, in South Sioux City, Neb., to Ruel Kendall Belknap and Inez Jane (Caudle) Belknap. She was the second of three children: an older sister, Elizabeth, who died at age 16, and a younger sister, Jane Margaret Bowman, who died in 1993.

As a child Genevieve lived in many places, including Nebraska, Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania, as the family followed her father’s work as a civil engineer engaged in highway construction projects. Following a year at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., she transferred to Upper Iowa University (UIU) in Fayette, from where both of her parents had graduated. Genevieve was granted her B.A. degree in 1936 at age 20. It was there she met the man to whom she would become married for 64 years, Carleton Baker (UIU, Class of 1934).

Following graduation Genevieve taught high school in Plymouth for two years. She married Carleton July 3, 1938, on the Belknap family farm near Huntingdon, Pa.They started their marriage in Decorah where Kendall was born and then moved to Cedar Rapids, where Clara Jane was born. Following two years in Glidden, the family returned to Decorah in 1944 when Carleton took over the Winneshiek Title & Abstract Company.

Genevieve was a stay-at-home mother when her two children were young, engaging in a variety of volunteer work including as a Cub Scout den mother, Girl Scout leader, Sunday School superintendent and clerk of the First Congregational (UCC) Church. She served on many committees, including community concerts, Nordic Fest, PTA, Iowa Association for Crippled Children and Luther College Woman’s Club. For 12 years beginning in the late 1950s Genevieve was a member of the Board of Trustees of Upper Iowa University.
In 1948 Genevieve was asked to revamp the Winneshiek County Credit Bureau, a merchant-owned non-profit organization, which she managed for two years.

She then pursued a graduate degree in English from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, receiving a Master of Arts in 1962. She held a number of teaching positions over the next several years, including Canton High School, Minn.; Ridgeway High School; Decorah Junior High School; Mason City Junior College (now North Iowa Area Community College); and her final two years before retirement in the English Department at Wartburg College, Waverly.

Genevieve was preceded in death by her husband, Carleton Baker, who died Aug. 23, 2002.

She is survived by her son, Kendall Clark Baker from Seattle, Wash. and his wife, Sonia; her daughter, Clare Baker-Dukett from Tucson, Ariz., and her husband, Pete; six grandchildren: Scott Baker, Dana Clemens, Kathleen Schultz, Cordell Baker, Paul Turner, and Angela Curran; six great-grandchildren: Megan Baker, Kyle Baker, Dylan Baker, Lewis Frank, Macallister Curran, Kingston Curran; and four nephews: Alan Bowman, John Bowman, Ruel Bowman, and William Bartholet. In addition, she is survived by many cousins in the Beard family of Winneshiek County to whom Genevieve is related through Carleton and with whom church and countless holidays and memorable riverside picnics have been shared over the years.

Memorial gifts can be directed to First Congregational UCC in Decorah or to Upper Iowa University in Fayette. Communications to the family can be made to Clare Baker-Dukett, 1558 N. Via Dorado, Tucson, AZ 85715.