A Tribute to Mollie Baker
Editor’s Note: Minnicock residents were saddened to learn of the death of Mollie Baker on June 15, 1998. We are grateful to George for preparing this beautiful tribute to Mollie and for the poem by Henry Van Dyke which expresses so well her philosophy of life.
Mollie (Swain) Baker grew up on Lyall Avenue in the east end of Toronto (now the Upper Beaches) during an era when horse-drawn wagons delivering bread, milk, coal etc., were slowly disappearing. Trips to the grandparents at Cavan and Fergus and camping on the shores of Georgian Bay were childhood memories.
Mollie attended Kimberley Public School and Malvern Collegiate. Glenn Gould was a fellow student. Following graduation from the University of Toronto, she enrolled in Normal School. Her teaching career included Rose Avenue, Morse and Queen Alexandra Public Schools. She considered the two years she taught at the Department of National Defence (D.N.D.) schools in France and Germany a wonderful opportunity to see Europe, often driving her own German-built automobile. Mollie was even able to drive her then recently retired father and mother around France, Holland, Denmark and the British Isles. We believe she honed her bridge expertise in the Air Force Officers’ Mess overseas.
George and Mollie were married in June, 1962. Part of the honeymoon was spent at Camp Allsaw where George was on staff. What a test of a marriage! Somewhat later when Mollie, George and the kids were renting on Soyers Lake, they chanced to meet “Uncle Pat” Montgomery in Haliburton village. He suggested property on Minnicock Lake that they could afford. A small cabin was erected in swamp land during August, 1969 and a larger cottage (on higher ground) followed in 1974. Many happy summers were spent there. Mollie served the Minnicock Ratepayers’ Association as treasurer for a number of years and later as president.
Although an avid reader, Mollie’s talents and interests also included photography, sewing, rug hooking, the Royal Family, cooking, euchre, cross-words and bridge. Television was limited at the cottage, but at home a wide range of programs from Masterpiece Theatre to Coronation Street, (George’s English Midlands relatives). Mollie loved to discuss her Scottish and Irish ancestors, particularly the Swain clan from Cavan, and, of course, current events. She was computer literate and was fascinated by gadgets both simple and complex. Yes, she could program the V.C.R.
Mollie suffered a heart attack in August, 1997. We had hoped that extensive heart surgery would improve her quality of life. It was not to be. We will miss her spirited discussions, sense of fairness and her hospitality. A private family service was held in Toronto. She is survived by her husband George, children Heather and husband Bill Dunn and Gordon. There is one grandchild, Brittany.
Let me live my life from year to year
With forward face and unreluctant soul,
Not hastening to, nor turning from the goal;
Nor mourning things that disappear
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
From what the future veils; but with a whole
And happy heart, that pays its toll
To youth and age, and travels on with cheer.
So let the way wind up the hill or down,
Through rough or smooth, the journey will be joy,
Still seeking what I sought when but a boy -
New friendships, high adventure, and a crown;
I shall grow old, but never lose life’s zest,
Because the road’s last turn will be the best.