Cover photo for Janice "Jan" Raye (Beckwith)  Baker's Obituary
Janice "Jan" Raye (Beckwith)  Baker Profile Photo

Janice "Jan" Raye (Beckwith) Baker

September 8, 1950 — February 15, 2022


Janice "Jan" Raye (Beckwith) Baker

Janice R. (Beckwith) Baker, age 71, passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by her children, on February 15, 2022 after living courageously with melanoma for 7 years.

Jan was born on September 8, 1950 in Boone, Iowa to Ralph and Dortheann Beckwith, following older siblings Jim and Jean. She graduated from Boone High School in 1968, then went on to attend Iowa State University where she received a degree in Home Economics in 1973. In 1969, Jan married Ron Baker. After college, they lived in Kansas, then spent a short time in Texas before returning to Ames to raise their family.

Rooted in Iowa, Jan enjoyed traveling nationally and internationally. She had a genuine curiosity about places and people, taking in art, culture, and activities wherever she went. When she was 18, she participated in Youth for Understanding, an international exchange program that provided her an opportunity to live in Finland. Whether road-tripping across the midwest or flying abroad, Jan always found wonder in new experiences.

Becoming a Mom was Jan’s greatest joy. She devoted herself to her family, and supported her children in their various interests. She utilized her talents sewing dance costumes, organizing fundraisers, and modeling leadership as she volunteered in school and extracurricular activities.

Ever-available for her children, Jan was always ready to catch them when they fell and help them get back up. She was generous in her love and it was unconditional. She had a remarkable ability to be present with her family while also keeping an eye toward the future. She was always working on a project, big or small, and planning her next adventure.

Jan loved Christmas, sparing no space in her home from decor. In 1984, she began collecting nutcrackers, adding at least one to her collection every year. One of her last days with all four of her children was spent going through the nutcrackers together, picking favorites and sharing the memories associated with them.

As her children grew up and embarked on their own journeys, Jan turned her attention toward her community, volunteering with different organizations in Ames. She was especially devoted to organizations serving youth and served on the Board of Trustees for the YSS Foundation for three years.

After 63 years in Central Iowa, Jan moved north to Plymouth, Minnesota to be closer to her children. She was an integral part of raising her grandchildren, applying her talents and gentle lovingness to their upbringing.

Never one to miss a key moment in her children’s lives, she attended every graduation, shower, and celebration. In the summer of 2020, she enlisted her children to rent an RV and drive her from Minneapolis to Denver to meet her twin grandchildren, born during the pandemic.

As her family expanded, so did her capacity for love. She opened her heart and home to her children’s spouses, treating them as her own. As much as she loved her family, she loved watching it grow.

Her love was a blessing. May her memory be a blessing.

She will be greatly missed by her children, Jill (Andrew) Lenius, Samuel (Anat Shinar) Baker, Kelly (Koda) Sanborn, Ricki (Trent) Feist, by her grandchildren, Mason and Tyler Lenius, Miriana and Emile Shinar-Baker, Kai Sanborn, and Olivia, Atler, Maddie, and Liam Feist, her siblings, Jean (Keith) Bailey, and Jim (Carol) Beckwith, and numerous other relatives and friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Dortheann Beckwith, and her beloved pup of 17 years, Blondie Baker.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 2 at 1:00pm, followed by a reception in celebration of her life.
Reiman Gardens
1407 University Blvd.
Ames, Iowa 50011

A Private Burial will be held in Linwood Park Cemetery in Boone

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to one of Jan’s favorite organizations, YSS .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Janice "Jan" Raye (Beckwith) Baker, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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