Marella “Murph” Baker: Gone Bowling June 7th, 2006

Marella Elizabeth Stockdale Baker, also known as Aunt Lella and "Murph" to family and friends, went to a better place June 7, 2006.

Marella Elizabeth Stockdale Baker.jpg

Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 2, 1915 to Charles William and Florence Jane Martin Stockdale, she was the youngest of five children.

She is survived by her daughters, Marcia "Timmy" Smith (Frank), Teresa "Tudy" McCormick, and Virginia "Ginny" Gibbs (David) .

She is also survived by granddaughters, Holly Martin, Raeanne (Rick), Heather Lloyd (Tally), Sydnee Crankshaw (Eric), and great-grandchildren Collin and Paige, Ezra and Haley Lloyd, and Alexandra Crankshaw, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors.

Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life in Marella's back yard on Saturday, June 10, 2006 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. She will be remembered for her "first snow of winter" doughnuts, her Disappearing Cookies, and her powerful rumballs.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in the name of Marella Baker to Care Source Hospice at 1624 East 4500 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117, or to the charity of your choice.

She is preceded in death by her parents, siblings, and husband, Paul Carver "Pop" Baker, and also by her best friend, Veda West of Grand Junction, CO. Marella leaves behind a legacy of compassion, talent, humor, and feistiness.

"Put the coffee on, Pop"

As you might have guessed, we lost Mom after a short illness. It all blew up very quickly and her condition kept swinging back and forth between "good, but tired and needing oxygen" to "unresponsive and mostly dead."

It's been an exhausting week and some family members weren't able to get there in time to see Mom when she was still her feisty l'il self, and so they're finding it harder. Those of us who were there pulling for her coped in our different ways with all the see-sawing.

Stress, grief, lack of sleep, and irregular meal times don't make for much clarity of thought. My poor family had to put up with me and my tendency to go in ten directions at once.

Still, one of the ideas that I had for the celebration party came off okay – we gave out little individual bedding plants to people to take home with them and plant in their gardens. I found verbena, which Mom 's own mother liked. The remainders got planted in the front bed by the step. They are growing (it's been a week now) and make the house look cheery.

When the celebration started, I was still out front sitting on a garden cart in my work clothes and hat, bagging individual cel-packs up for people who didn't want to mess up their clothes. I greeted people and escorted older folks around the uneven spots in the lawn.

My sister Timmy started things off while I showered and changed. Tudy circulated and Cousin Bill had created the memory table. It was truly a group effort and by all accounts, a huge success.

Meanwhile, my niece Raeanne had tied satin ribbons on the clotheslines to warn people about the wires, and to me they symbolized laundry on the line (Mom loved to watch laundry blowing in the breeze). Other family members found ways to pay tribute either before the celebration, or during it.

And of course, the STORIES. There was so much laughter and love that day. The neighbors all stood in a group to one side, just beaming, because they loved Mom,too. She was a fixture on her street, kind of like a public utility.

And strangely enough, the word "connections" keeps cropping up. It's obviously of great importance at this time. There have been many little signs and portents that tend to reassure us and to relay to us that we're on the right track. So many that we take a lot of comfort, although a person of more conventional beliefs would say that they are messages of comfort from God.

Okay, fine, but God's sense of humor is suspiciously familiar.

More later, but not reams and reams of stuff any sane person would label "TMI." There were just two readings – the Serenity Prayer and the passage "On Children" from Khalil Ghibran's "The Prophet."

And then the stories started. All kinds of people came forward after the family started things off with a couple of choice anecdotes.

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