Mary Mandzak Baker, 95, of Bloomington, passed away January 3, 2020 at Meadowood. She was born on April 17, 1924, to Samuel (given name Simeon) and Kata (nee Timko) Mandzak in Corning, NY. She was the oldest of six children.
Mary attended the Robert Packer Hospital School of Nursing in Sayre, PA, and received her RN in March 1944. She answered the call of this great nation to replace the nurses who joined the armed forces during WWII, and was accepted into the Army Cadet Nurse Corps. She served her nation honorably until after the war ended.
Mary next embarked on a career with the Visiting Nurse Association in New York City, while taking additional nursing courses at Columbia University. When she married John Baker on September 2, 1950, she began their cherished family; John J. Jr. (Jewel) Baker , Mary (Tom) Nee, Suzanne (Jim) Cox, Kay (John) Tharpe, and Simeon (Judy) Baker. Their family grew to include a “Baker’s Dozen” of beloved grandchildren: Clark and John III(Joey) Baker; Elizabeth Nee Speicher, Katie Nee (Lt. Commander Daniel) O’Brien, and Tommy Nee; Kathryn, Jimmy, and John Cox, Caroline Cox (Blaine) Meehan; Kara and Michael Tharpe; and Samuel and Adam Baker.
Mary’s legacy also includes six great-grandchildren: Declan, Kieran, and Maeve O’Brien; Camden and Luke Meehan; and Kayla Tharpe.
Mary and her husband of 49 years, John, moved from Yonkers, NY to Bloomington, IN in 1965 with Otis Elevator. She led an extremely full life. In addition to being a homemaker, Mary’s favorite hobby was gardening, and she grew enough to feed her family of seven and also provided surplus to her friends and neighbors. She worked part-time at Hospitality House and Bloomington Hospital, as well as being a private nurse.
Mary was also passionate about local politics and education, attending as many meetings as she could for over 40 years. Mary was a fervent supporter of Phyllis Schafly and the Eagle Forum, Gateway Eagle Council, and the Stop ERA Movement. She was also an Indiana delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention.
Mary and John were members of St. John the Apostle Parish since its inception in 1970. She was pre-deceased by her husband John (2000), their daughter Kay Tharpe (2008), their grandson Tommy Nee (1998), as well as all her siblings: Anne Kakos; John, George, and Michael Mandzak; and Kay Baker.
Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, 4607 W. State Road 46, Bloomington, IN.
Visitation will be from 11:00 am until service time at the church.
Interment following services at Valhalla Memory Gardens, 310 N. Johnson Ave. Bloomington, IN.
Luncheon at St. John the Apostle Catholic Churhc following interment.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Mary Baker to The Hannah Center, wwww.hannahcenter.org.