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Louise C. (Castling) BakerJune 10, 1922 ~ November 15, 2017 (age 95)
Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas on June 10, 1922 as Eddie Louise Castling. In adulthood, she was known as Louise.
Louise was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Paul. She is survived by her children, Gayla (Jack) Stewart, Ronald (Carol Burdett) Baker, David (Sharon) Baker, and Charlotte (Galen) Sievert; grandchildren, Peter (Stacey Leavell) Stewart, Sarah (Tyler) Hershberger, James Stewart, Aaron (Kaitlin) Baker, Gabriel (Dylan Martin) Ely, Andrew Baker, Ben Baker, Jeremy (Maggie) Baker; great-grandchildren, Tatum MacBride, Eli Hershberger, and Colin Hershberger.
Louise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics from the University of Arkansas (UA). Upon graduation she took a position as a chemist at the Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas. There was a shortage of qualified men to fill the chemist positions because of the war, so Shell was hiring women.
She met her future husband, Paul, when she was a Delta Gamma sorority girl at UA. He was at Camp Chaffee, preparing to serve overseas in WWII. They only knew each other for about two weeks before he shipped out. They corresponded with each other throughout the next three years until he came back to the U.S. Very soon after his return, they were engaged. They were married on August 25, 1946 in Fort Smith. They celebrated their 70th anniversary together with friends and family in August of 2016.
Paul’s career with Babcock & Wilcox, eventually brought them to Ohio, and they settled in Portage Lakes in 1953.
Louise and Paul were members of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Barberton, Ohio since the early 1950’s. Louise worked part-time as a dietician at Barberton Citizens Hospital during the Fifties, while she was raising her children. A few years later, she received her teaching credentials and became a part-time home economics teacher at U.L. Light Junior High in Barberton.
After retiring from teaching, Louise took up a new career as a community citizen and humanitarian. She was a founding board member of the Coalition of Concerned Christians, which hosts the Friendship Meals in Barberton. This group organized many of the churches in Barberton to take turns cooking meals for the underserved. Louise also served as a volunteer for Love, INC (In the Name of Christ).
She was a board member of Barberton Area Community Ministries (BACM). BACM had an annual fundraiser that had an additional purpose to accentuate the conditions of homeless people. It was called Sleep in the Streets. She asked for donors to sponsor her each year as she slept outdoors in a cardboard box at the event. She participated in this event for several years, through age 89.
Louise was active in the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and was a founding member and Convener of the Barberton-Norton-Wadsworth Peace Studies Group. She and Paul were co-recipients of the John T. Looney Peace and Justice Award in 2007. In October of 2015 the Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio came to Akron and bestowed them with the Betty Leo Peace and Justice Award.
In the early Eighties, Louise and Paul went on a mission trip to Haiti where they struck up a relationship with an Anglican Priest who ran a school for poor children. After returning, Louise began to send large shipments of toys and sneakers to the children in that school each Christmas for their annual Christmas party. She raised hundreds of dollars each year from family and friends at church. She bought the toys according to what the priest said they needed and/or wanted. She also organized the women of St. Andrews to make cloth dolls, complete with hair, painted faces, and individualized clothing, so each little girl would receive her own doll. Louise sent the Christmas shipments to Haiti for about two decades.
Friends may call at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Rd. on Monday, November 20, 2017 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., where services will be held immediately following, with Fathers Mike Petrochuk and Scott Souders officiating.
If desired, donations can be made to Bethlehem Ministry (for the poor of Haiti) at bethlehemministry.org/donate or Barberton Area Community Ministries, in memory of Louise.