Family thankful for those who harvested for beloved husband, father and friend

November 15, 2022

Late farmer's field being harvested

Faith, family and farm – those three words defined Paul Baker.

He was so well loved in his Creston community that, after his Oct. 20 death, neighboring farmers left their crops in the field for a day to harvest his 600 acres of grain.

Paul trusted in God for everything. When he the 66-year-old learned he had advanced cancer, he wasCombines in a farm field at peace. He was about to celebrate his 46th wedding anniversary with the love of his life, Lynn. He was blessed with two daughters and two granddaughters.

Paul died two days after his diagnosis.

“He was ready,” his daughter, Meredith Wulf, said. “On the last day that he was with us, he said he was waiting for the Lord and He’s being slow because he’s ready to go. We’re a very faith-based family. It was very comforting for us to know that he was good and he was ready and that he would continue to be with us always but in a different capacity.”

Paul was a role model in faith for the community – Catholic and non-Catholic – long before he became ill.

“Whenever you’d go to him for advice, he’d tell us to pray about it,” Meredith said. “If someone was having trouble or if their family needed prayers, they would reach out to one of us and ask Dad to pray for them.”

Paul’s brother, John, remembers his brother helping the parish. Paul and John along with two cousins would go to the church every year about two weeks before Christmas to replace all the lightbulbs using long ladders.

Father Patrick Amedeka has been in the Creston community a few months, but he knew Paul embraced everyone and had a spirit of humility.

“I did not know who Paul really was until he died and the church was packed,” he said. “Paul moved them because of his relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Paul used technology to spread a smile to others, even if it was on a flip phone.

He had a group of about 40 people he would text, sometimes as early as 5:30 a.m. He would send a Bible verse, sometimes a quote that was meaningful to him, and sometimes it was a joke. With a flip phone, he had to enter each cellphone number every morning and could only send in groups of about 10.

“People would ask to be on his texting tree,” Meredith said. “He would pray for each person as he put their phone number in.”

The Baker family is grateful to the community for helping to bring in the crops.

Shortly after Paul’s funeral, neighbors had a planning meeting to get the corn out of the field.

“They strategically made teams for the fields. Usually, when people don’t work together all the time, things go wrong. That day, it was a well-oiled machine,” Meredith said.

Paul was buried on a Tuesday.

On Thursday, before the sun rose, trucks were rolling to the farm. The day brought prime harvest conditions with hardly any wind. Agrivision, the John Deere dealer, brought donuts and coffee. The Farm Bureau and Southwest Distributing brought sandwich trays and refreshments. The co-op took all the grain hauled to town. Organized groups took sack lunches to those in the fields. Paul’s second and fourth grade granddaughters at St. Malachy School in Creston decorated the paper lunch sacks and made thank-you notes.

Paul’s support of the school was unyielding, said Principal Jennifer Simmons.

Paul's daughters and now granddaughters attended St. Malachy School.

"He loved this place,” Simmons said. “He made some great connections with the kids preparing them to be servers each week.”

John estimates about 25 combines and about 38 tractors came to help with the harvest.

Crowd of neighbors who helped harvestEven in death, Paul was bringing people together.

“New friendships were formed and existing relationships strengthened," Meredith said. “That was amazing.”

Meredith learned something that autumn day: “I think the biggest thing I learned was the kind of impact one person can have and to be more like my dad.”