Wanda Baker


December 29, 1947 - August 14, 2021


Wanda Baker, 73, of Mitchell, SD, died Saturday, August 14, 2021, at Firesteel Healthcare Center in Mitchell following an eight-month battle with COVID-induced diabetes complications. Funeral services will be 10:00 AM Saturday, August 28, at Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene in Mitchell. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery in Fulton. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Wanda Joy Baker was born on December 29, 1947, in the old Methodist Hospital in Mitchell (many years later she met the nurse who delivered her) to parents Melvin and Evelyn Thomsen. She lived in Mitchell her first 4 years, and then the family moved to Minnesota where Wanda completed her school years, graduating in 1965 from Dawson High School. In seventh grade in Dawson, she met her future husband, Mike Baker, though it took her another 12 years to realize he was her future husband. Then she spent 50 years of marriage taking the rough edges off him (Oh, no! You aren't going to wear that, are you?!).

Immediately after graduation, she flew to Uganda (Africa), where her father was on an USAID contract., showing the Ugandans how to set up farm co-ops. Although she returned to Minnesota for nursing school and her first few years of nursing practice, she always had a “heart for Africa.” In 1971, when she and Mike were preparing to marry, she told him that she would love it if he could get orders for Africa (he was in the Army). Fortunately, he was able to deliver on an assignment to Ethiopia, and the couple had 13 wonderful months there before having to evacuate to Maryland when the civil war heated up.  As civilians (1973-2007), they had assignments in several places in Germany, Moscow (Russia), Geneva (Switzerland), and Budapest (Hungary). Along the way, they had two children (Derek was almost born in Ethiopia, but settled on St. Paul, and Monica was born in Augsburg, Germany.  The first document she got was a passport, valid for five years, with her baby picture.). Both of the kids loved the overseas experience. Wherever Mike and Wanda went, they made lasting friends and enjoyed learning about the country. Budapest was a surprise, because the Hungarians love quilting, and Wanda became a serious quilter. She was working on a quilting project when she got sick

Wanda was a lifelong member of the Church of the Nazarene, and she was very active in Harvest Community Church, Mitchell, both on the church board and wherever else she was needed. She was also active in James Valley Community Center, where she played Mahjong and was in the quilt guild. 

She is survived by her husband, Mike; son, Derek (Jill) of Mankato MN; daughter, Monica (AJ) of Sioux Falls SD; three grandsons; brothers, Les (Lane) Thomsen of San Antonio TX and Vandy (Paula) Thomsen of Independence MO; numerous cousins and other relatives, and a multitude of friends all over the world who were touched by her and miss her.  That multitude begins with friends from Dawson and overseas days and includes lifelong friends from the church in Maryland that was their home church for many years, and extends to the many wonderful people who have taken Mike and Wanda in in Mitchell.   

Wanda's parents, Mel and Evelyn Thomsen, preceded her in death. 


None Scheduled


Saturday, August 28, 2021
10:00 AM
Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene
1017 W Norway Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Graceland Cemetery
Fulton, SD

Posted by Vandy and Paula Thomsen on August 27, 2021
I will miss my big sister forever. She was so loving and caring to all those around her. Wanda was such a great example to me on how love and care for those around her.
Posted by Doris Meinke on August 24, 2021
Mike and Family I am sorry for your loss. may God be with you and your family. Wanda loved and served God completely. She is with God now. God has given her peace. God will watch over and take care of her. Monica and Derek I made two photo albums for Wanda told Wanda when the time came i wanted them passed down to you and Derek family. It has family pictures and history. Please accept these books share them with your family thank youI
Posted by Jackie Christiansen Greg Girard on August 20, 2021
Mike, We are so sorry for your loss. We have missed seeing Wanda Joy at church. She was such a kind and gentle woman. She married a kind and gentle man. God's love and comfort to you and your family.
Posted by Deb Weitala on August 20, 2021
Mike, I am so sorry for your loss. Wanda was a very special woman and you were a great couple! Generous of spirit and full of mercy and grace. We know without a doubt she is with our Lord!
Posted by Cindy Gregg on August 18, 2021
Mike, I am so very sorry. Wanda always had a special place in my heart, even though we didn’t see each often. A kind, warm-hearted, loving woman. She will be missed.
Posted by Dennis & Sue Westgard on August 18, 2021
Dear Mike and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Wanda and her parents are together in heaven. She will be greatly missed.
Posted by Pamela Hall/Ron Haney on August 18, 2021
Dear Mike and family, We are so sorry for your loss. Wanda was a sweet lady.
Posted by Doris Meinke on August 17, 2021
Wanda will always be my true friend. Real true friends care respect, appreciate and love. If it comes from within and from the heart. That friendship will never go away. Because its from heart. Wanda Baker knows the meaning of true friendship. I love her with all my heart. I will always keep Wanda and Evelyn in my heart forever. Thank you God for giving me the best friends ever. I love you so much
Posted by Jay and Betty Anderson on August 17, 2021
We will miss a great neighbor but heaven has received a sweet angel. Our sympathy.
Posted by Delvon and Jean Ammon on August 16, 2021
May You rest in peace Wanda. You will be greatly missed by all who knew you
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