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Frances Baldwin
Frances Baldwin

Frances Baldwin, age 88, passed away Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, at Billings Health and Rehabilitation Community, Billings.

The sixth of nine children, Frances was born to Ruth and Wesley Hargus on the family farm east of Marshfield, Mo., on Jan. 27, 1920. She attended the one-room High Prairie country school through the eighth grade. She rode the bus to Marshfield High School for two years and then boarded in town two years. At a picnic prior to graduation, she met her future husband, Louis Owen Baldwin. They were married on Sept. 9, 1938, at the Webster County Fair. They made their home in Marshfield the first year and then moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and eventually on to West Des Moines. Frances moved to Billings in 1999 to be closer to her daughter.

Frances and Owen had two children: William I. Baldwin and Sheila D. (Baldwin) Christopherson. After marriage, Frances was a stay-at-home mom and worked in the home as a seamstress. During WWII, she ironed WAC uniforms for women stationed at Fort Des Moines. In the late 1950s, she was manager for the Federal Bakery in Des Moines. At a friend's suggestion, Frances applied for a job in advertising at Meredith Publishing Company, working there 15 years until retirement in 1985.

Frances loved gardening and sharing the produce with friends and neighbors. Tomatoes were her specialty. For 14 years, she volunteered teaching ceramics at the West Des Moines Senior Center. She was a longtime member of West Des Moines Christian Church.

Frances is survived by her children, Bill (Gena) Baldwin of Portage, Mich., and Sheila (Dennis) Christopherson of Billings; sisters, Loreen Shook, Reba Hargus and Eva Lee Letterman; brothers, Lorin (Eva Mae) Hargus and Warren (Wilma) Hargus; grandchildren William E. Baldwin, Weslee I. Baldwin, LeAnn (Craig) Boobar, Clayton (Lori) Christopherson, Heather (Tom) Raffa, David Baldwin; step-grandchildren, Debbie (Tim Adams) Lewin, Jeff (Sandy) Lewin and Greg (Joy Schloemer) Lewin. Frances was blessed with 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Frances was preceded in death by Owen, her husband of 54 years; parents, Wesley and Ruth (Day) Hargus; brother, Clyde Hargus; sisters Anna Belle Hargus and Florence Hargus.

Cremation has taken place and interment will be in Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines, at a later date.

Memorials may be sent to: West Des Moines Christian Church, 4501 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50265.

The family thanks the staff of the Billings Health and Rehabilitation Community for their kindness, care and support.

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