Berniece Annette Wiltfang Baker, 85, of Punta Gorda, Fla., and Des Moines, Iowa, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at home, surrounded by her loving family and friends.
She was born June 12, 1927, in Albion, Iowa, to her parents, Ben and Gladys Wiltfang.
Berniece had two brothers, Calvin Wiltfang and Dr. Bernard Wiltfang. The family established a farm outside of Wellsburg, Iowa, where they resided for many years. She came to Des Moines to further her schooling. Berniece worked at the Younkers Tea Room, as she studied cosmetology. During this time she met Bernard J. Baker Jr. at the Tromar Ballroom, while he was on leave from the U.S. Navy. They married Jan. 4, 1947, and raised three children. Berniece owned and operated Hilltop Beauty Salon for over 50 years. She loved finding the right haircut, color or style to accent her client’s natural beauty. Together they began Baker Plumbing & Heating in 1963, which is now known as The Baker Group. Even as the business grew, Berniece would maintain a presence at the office enjoying everyone’s company and treating them as family.
She will be celebrated by her family and friends for her zest for life, wisdom and loving nature. Berniece was a loyal and devoted friend to all, giving her support and compassion tirelessly. During her “retirement,” she spent winters at their home in Punta Gorda. She enjoyed an adventure, be it to Starbucks for a stout cup of coffee, as well as traveling the world. She was known as “the super shopper,” and would return from their travels with the newest treasure to decorate her home, or gifts for family and friends.
Berniece will be greatly missed by her children, Janice Baker, B.J. (Tiffany) Baker III and Gregory Wiltfang Baker; grandchildren, Emily Haines, Treynor, Chloe, Wyatt and Genevieve Baker, and Ben and Maggie Kemp. She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Bernard J. Baker Jr., who passed away in 1997; and granddaughters, Brandi Rose and Nikole Lynne Baker.
Visitation was held Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 at Dunns’ Funeral Home in Des Moines. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, at Staves United Methodist Church, 2747 E. Madison, Des Moines. Burial will follow at the Masonic Cemetery, 1550 48th St., Des Moines. Berniece will be laid to rest beside her husband and granddaughters. Memorial Contributions may be made in Berniece’s memory to Anawim House in care of The Baker House or Staves United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are by Iles Funeral Homes, Des Moines.