MYRNA BAIRD FUNERAL SERVICE
Saturday, December 4, 2021
Funeral Program (PDF)
Photo Slide Show (8 mins 22 secs)
Full Service (1 hr 30 mins)
Obituary Reading by Dave Krogan (10 mins 10 secs)
Tributes read by Ann Krogan and Steve Smith (17 mins 41 secs)
“All the Way My Savior Leads Me” Nephews Quartet (3 mins 29 secs)
“M.O.M.” Message by Steve Smith (27 mins 31 secs)
“And Can It Be” Congregational Hymn & Closing Prayer by Norb Metzler (8 mins 39 secs)
MYRNA BAIRD – OBITUARY
A tribute by her husband, Tom
Myrna Alice Horn was born Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1936, in Waukee, Iowa to Mathew Russell Horn (Mat) and Agnes Lewis Horn. She joined older brothers Russell (Russ) Horn, Robert (Bob) Horn, and William (Bill) Horn. There was great cause for rejoicing, especially amongst the female members of the extended family, because she was the first girl to come along in a tireless stream of boys. Myrna confessed that she exploited her unique status to obtain favored treatment, such as when she licked and pasted to the door the contents of Bill’s stamp collection.
Myrna was born on what was coincidentally her mother’s birthday in the parsonage of the Christian Church in Waukee which was available for renting pending the hiring of a new pastor. This was one of several rented residences the family occupied in Waukee and Adel because Matt, like other coal miners, was averse to owning property which could be foreclosed if they lost their income due to the shutdown of the mine. This meant that Myrna had to change schools and friends from time to time. One such friend, Ruthy Van Voorhis, was at most times a very good friend, but because she was 11 days older than Myrna insisted that her viewpoint should always prevail by reason of her greater experience.
Myrna got her first bicycle at age 5 and was quickly taught to ride by her older brothers. Her Aunt Eva made a canvas bag for her bike so she could pick up the mail from the post office in Waukee. Myrna was a voracious reader, constantly checking out as many books at one time as the library would allow. Myrna’s first job was in high school at a market in Waukee owned by Clarence Pringle. She always had an interest in science, but she was limited by the curriculum of the high school which was geared for rural living, and in the case of girls, to domestic arts. In one of their Home Ec classes they managed to generate enough smoke and heat with one of their culinary creations to stage an unplanned fire drill for the school. She graduated from high school in 1954 as class valedictorian.
Myrna would have gone to medical school if possible, but since it was not, she settled for pharmacy school at Drake University. A good portion of her tuition fees were paid for with her father’s income from trapping of fur-bearing animals. She struggled at first for want of knowledge of basic chemistry which the other class members had obtained but which was not available at Waukee High School. Pharmacy then was a man’s game; she was one of only 4 women in a class of 60. She developed a close friendship with Winifred Mote, the head pharmacist at Broadlawns Hospital. She was able to perform most of her 1-year required internship under Winifred’s supervision. After Myrna’s internship, she took and passed the required State exams and became a duly registered pharmacist. She maintained her registration through required continuing education courses for essentially the remainder of her life.
Myrna visited relatives in Colorado with her parents in the late summer of 1955, and attended a Bible conference where she attracted the attention of Tom Baird who was a student at the University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder. They became sufficiently well acquainted to begin corresponding by mail. Tom found reasons to visit Iowa several times during the ensuing school year which imparted a modicum of reality to their relationship. In the summer of 1956 Myrna came to Colorado to work at the drug store in Colorado Springs owned by Jack Slocum, the father-in-law of her brother Bob. This put Myrna and Tom within 100 miles of each other, but unfortunately that was also the summer that Tom was required to attend the 6-week ROTC summer camp at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA. They got together before and after summer camp, but it was far from what it might have been. Tom moved to make the relationship permanent when he invited Myrna to accompany him inside the fence around Columbia cemetery which was a few yards from his house in Boulder. In those quiet, private surroundings, he asked her to marry him, and she accepted his proposal. They were married a year later, on June 23, 1957, when in a 2-week period Tom also graduated in EE from CU, was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army, moved to Des Moines, started a job at Iowa Power & Light Company, and joined the fellowship at Central Gospel Chapel (CGC, nka Creekside Church).
Myrna graduated from Drake in June, 1958, finished her internship by December, and accompanied Tom to his permanent Army assignment at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA. While in Augusta, she worked at a hospital under the head pharmacist, a remarkable lady, Sister Mary Maurice. Tom finished his active duty in June, 1960, and they returned to Des Moines, bringing with them a dog that had adopted them in their neighborhood in Georgia. Thereafter dogs were always considered a part of their family. Myrna worked part time at Richard’s Pharmacy and other drug stores in Des Moines. They began their family when daughter Ann was born in August 1960. Daughter Lynn was born in March 1962, and daughter Amy in February 1969. Myrna poured her efforts and interest into her daughters, and each became fast friends with their mother and each other. Even when the girls were safely in school, and Myrna could have returned to pharmacy, she continued to give priority to raising her girls.
Myrna professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a young teenager while attending Lake Koronis Bible Camp in Paynesville, MN. She credits Velma Green and Lola Ferris from CGC for her early grounding in the Christian faith. Myrna’s parents brought her to CGC as often as they could which was not easy during the days of gas rationing in WW2. She continued in fellowship her entire life at CGC, or Creekside Church as it is now known. After returning from Georgia, Myrna became increasingly active in the Christian community by serving as a teacher of pre-school aged children of ladies in the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) organization. She worked with children at DVBS sessions at CGC and as a counselor at Iowa Bible Camp. She and her Christian girlfriends worked as hostesses at various showers, funerals, etc., at CGC, and in the projects of Women’s Missionary Outreach. She more recently joined in the activities of the local branch of Dress-A-Girl Around the World which is an organization dedicated to providing at least one pretty garment in the lifetime of girls in 3rd-world countries.
The family has enjoyed close relationships through the years. In recognition of Myrna and Tom’s 50th wedding anniversary (2007) Myrna proposed and planned an excursion to Great Britain for the entire family including grandchildren. In recognition of their 60th anniversary (2017), Myrna rented a house for the family in Colorado Springs. Myrna and Tom, accompanied by daughter Ann and husband Dave, toured Scotland in September of 2019. In July of 2021 most of the family spent several days at Naniboujou Lodge in northern MN. Myrna felt fortunate to do what her parents never could do which was to travel with other family and friends to foreign countries in Europe, Israel, and the Caribbean.
Myrna was easy to love. She strove to say the right thing in the right way at the right time, and often fretted if she felt she hadn’t done so. She developed close friendships with many girlfriends including Tom’s cousin, Eldonna Valentine. Peals of laughter in abundance could be heard when they were together. Eldonna said it best: “Myrna we love, Tom we tolerate.”
Myrna was called to her eternal rest on November 26, 2021, 85 years to the day from her birth. She was preceded in death by father, Mat, in 1981; mother, Agnes, in 1982; brothers Russ, Bob, and Bill and their respective wives, her sisters-in-law. She is survived by husband Tom, daughter Ann Elizabeth Krogan (Dave); daughter Carol Lynn Rupp (Steve); daughter Amy Ruth Johnson (Mike); granddaughter Kelsey Allyn Jacobs (Dexter); granddaughter Keriann Honor Cox (Joe); grandson Braden Thomas Rupp; grandson Levi Baird Johnson; great grandchildren Beckett, Everett, and Vivian, and many nephews and nieces.
Suggested recipients for memorials are Creekside Women’s Missionary Outreach, Dress-A-Girl DM, and Animal Lifeline of Iowa.
A tribute by Ann Krogan
Thank you for joining us today. Our family has been overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness. Your presence here reminds us that we are better together and don’t have to be alone in our grief… and that is a most comforting thought. We are so deeply grateful.
I’d like to start by acknowledging that Myrna would be very uncomfortable if she were here with us. Mom did not like to be the center of attention… she was a low-drama lady. And I believe that she would want to set the record straight and point out that she wasn’t perfect or that her accomplishments weren’t that big a deal. So, in her honor I would like to acknowledge that she could be a bit sassy. Family lore has it that when she was very young someone had the nerve to give her a set of boxed underwear for her birthday. Her disgusted “Whoever heard of pants in a box!” comment has become family lingo for the utmost in disappointment.
So, having established that Myrna was not perfect (and that she would be the first to admit it) we’ll pause the reality check and move on.
Instead, I’d like to tell you about three things she said to me that very first evening after receiving her initial diagnosis of pancreas cancer.
First, she remarked “I know God is not surprised by this.” She felt such peace knowing that whatever happened, it would be part of a plan that she trusted would be good because she believed that God is good. Even when the diagnosis is cancer. Her serene faith never seemed to falter. She did not pray that the cancer would be cured, instead she prayed for wisdom to make good decisions. Her faith wasn’t simply a reflection of an abundant, well-lived life. It was a substantial, solid base that supported her during one of the biggest challenges of her life. If God was allowing this cancer to develop, she could be okay with it. Her hope and peace were in God—not in a diagnosis, a test result, or a treatment outcome.
Second, when she went to her online medical portal that day in March, she was able to print off a complete report of all that the scan had revealed. She seemed a bit offended that her liver was described as “slightly fatty” and was interested to learn that she had an aortic aneurysm just as her own mother and brother Bob had. As she went through all the details in the report she remarked, “Except for this one cranky bit (meaning the cancer), this is fascinating!”
My goodness! Our Myrna was a curious, lifelong learner!! She truly was the smartest person I have ever met….and I know lots of smart people! She delighted in learning about word origins, anything related to natural sciences, the history of people and places all over the world, and the Bible….including all the cultural and historical contexts of the time. Mom was living proof that one could appreciate both science and faith without contradiction. She could be frequently found reading, watching a travel show, balancing her checkbook To The Penny, listening to classical music, caring for abandoned or injured birds and bunnies, getting lost on a trail of geneaology research on the internet, or observing the effects of various chemicals on stain removal. She had such a great memory and a broad knowledge base that you would be wise to pick her first when selecting your trivia team.
She approached her illness with similar curiosity. She duly recorded her neutrophil levels and cancer protein numbers week after week. She prepared for her appointments and brought with her well-considered questions. She researched the specific drugs that were prescribed for her chemotherapy. (Now remember….This was the woman who put an updated version of the Physician’s Desk Reference –a pharmacy Bible of sorts—on her Christmas list.)
(I should note here that Myrna wasn’t just all about facts, science and numbers. She also had a fondness for whimsy. Her favorite childhood book was about Poppy the fairy. She was a fan of JRR Tolkien and the Middle Earth he created. At opportune times, she might sing something silly like “put your shoes on Lucy don’t ya know you’re in the city” or “lookin through the knothole in daddy’s wooden leg”—little ditties she probably picked up from her dad. )
Finally, the thing we all heard her say multiple times: “I have nothing to complain about. I have had a wonderful life.” Her heart was full of gratitude. Mom was thankful for her family—especially reunions and vacations where we could all be together, her dear buddies from Creekside, her opportunities to serve with the Women’s Missionary Class at church—she kept at that greeting card project from home as long as her strength and energy allowed. She treasured all her travel opportunities, her education, her comfortable home, butter, half and half, real coffee and the taste of lemon, homegrown tomatoes, cozy robes, Tillamook cheese and navy blue shoes. She was not a materialistic person by any means. If she valued a thing it was likely because of some quality that had nothing to do with its monetary value. There was the wooden cutting board that she could never bring her self to use because her grandson, Braden, had made it; the cast iron dutch oven used for making roast beef dinners—the same container her own mother used and that her daughter Lynn now rightfully claims. She had a stash of objects she kept simply because they were tiny—tiny bottles, scissors, baskets and again the fairies!. And then there were her four-legged kids! No list of Myrna’s Blessings would be complete without mentioning Stinky Boy from Georgia, Sonny a school yard stray, Bogey a post-blizzard foundling, Pumpkin a temporary guest who became permanent, Tristan a mother’s day surprise from the ARL and finally Molly with whom she fell in love over the internet and who continues to provide us all with the affection and amusement that only a canine sister can offer. Mom’s affection extended to grand dogs and great grand dogs and basically ANY dog she encountered. In the last several months her list of thanksgiving came to include the staff at John Stoddard Cancer Center and Unity Point Hospice, her comfy bed, fuzzy socks, ibuprofen and all the visits, cards and calls from her friends. I truly believe that we would be well into the next year if I were to list EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that mom held dear.
So, I will end with this… Myrna loved me and Lynn and Amy first. She was our first teacher, a life long friend, our counselor, our cheerleader, and a lovely reflection of Jesus. Her unconditional love made it easier to believe in God who loves US all unconditionally. Put simply, we are better people because we got to call her mom.
A tribute by Kelsey Jacobs
I never want to forget the special person Mama Myrna was to me. Her love of learning was contagious and she shared many science experiments with her grandkids. We were flabbergasted when she showed us how a boiled egg could be sucked into a bottle with just a lit match, and a raw egg could bounce after several days soaked in vinegar.
When I was in second grade, she agreed to let me bring tadpoles home from school so we could watch them turn into frogs, and she told me with excitement about the little frog who made a daring escape from the tank only to be rescued later when she found him as she swept the floor.
Before the days of Google, whenever I had a question my parents couldn’t answer, their response was always, “Mama would probably know.” So, I’d call her after dinner, and she’d always answer my question. She fostered my interest in rocks and I still treasure the carefully-labeled rocks that she brought for me from the Holy Land.
One of the highlights of my childhood was Sunday dinner at her house after church. I don’t know how many roasts she cooked for us over the years, but I always felt so safe and happy at her house, eating delicious familiar food, listening to the grown ups talk, and being doted on by grandparents, aunts and uncles.
I’ll never forget the Christmas when I tried on her wedding dress, looking at myself in the mirror of her bedroom where I had played hide-and-seek as a child. I wore her dress on my wedding day, 49 years after she wore it on hers.
Her love and encouragement has been a constant presence throughout my life. When I became a mom, she often told me what a great job I was doing with my kids, which meant so much to me during the exhausting early years of parenting.
While 36 years of having Mama Myrna as my grandmother does not feel like enough, I am so thankful that she packed so much love, generosity, and kindness into the years we have been together on earth. Praise God for his gracious plan that allows us to be together again when we are both with Him.
A tribute by Beverly Shelton
I don’t think I have the right words or time to say what I think of Myrna.
She was definitely one of a kind, always a kind word for everyone and never heard her say an unkind thing about anyone. Once in a while we would just look at one another and roll our eyes.
She would always listen to you when you complained about something or were hurting and I knew that she would keep it to herself.
When Howard died I knew my buddies would be there for me, and I don’t know how I could have made it without them.
We traveled all over, cruising, skiing in Colorado, rafting in Wyoming, boating in the Ozarks and many other trips. She loved to shop for others and her suitcase would be full of gifts for her girls or others wherever we traveled.
She taught me to love learning about our missionaries all over the world and to appreciate so much their love, service and devotion to our wonderful Savior.
I loved her so much and will miss her, but what great memories I have.