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West Plains, MO Location (417) 256-4141

Thayer, MO Location (417) 264-7242


Mary Jo Baker, daughter of the late Kenneth A. Smith and Bessie E. Heselton Smith, was born March 31, 1936 in West Plains, Missouri. She went to be with the Lord December 27, 2023 at the age of 87 years.

She was united in marriage March 15, 1957, to the love of her life, Pare Daily “Ace” Baker, Jr., who preceded her in death March 18, 2020.

She is survived by two children, Vicky Deatherage and husband, Ted, West Plains, Missouri, and Kenny Baker and wife Jackie, West Plains, Missouri; six grandchildren, Samantha, Corey, Jazlynn, Kayla, Tonya, and Alec; four great grandchildren and one on the way, and a very special cousin, Linda DePriest.

She is preceded in death by her husband; parents, and one grandson Tim Baker.

She was employed at the Division Employment Security, and enjoyed her clients, improving their careers, and many times was reconnected with their success.

She loved her church family and was very active in all the church activities. She loved to garden, work in her flower beds, antiquing, and having tea parties with all her grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at Oak Lawn Cemetery, West Plains, Missouri, under the direction of Carter Funeral Home, Inc., West Plains, Missouri.



  1. Silva family
    December 29, 2023 @ 10:37 am

    We will truly miss this warm hearted beautiful lady. She always had such kind words to say. We will miss that smile and wave. Learned so many garden tips- and recipes. Our prayers to the family ❤️


  2. Marsha & Ron
    December 29, 2023 @ 11:09 am

    Our sincere condolences for All the Family! We were Very Fond of Mary Jo, and was always happy to see her. She was always smiling and friendly! Our Prayers are with you All!

    Marsha and Ron Kelly


  3. Beverly Watson
    December 29, 2023 @ 11:17 am

    I loved Mary Jo. She was like the older sister I never hold. RIP sweet friend.


  4. Sunie Pace
    December 29, 2023 @ 12:25 pm

    Vicki and Kenny, I’m so sorry for the loss of your PRECIOUS MOM. She had such a beautiful. My prayers are with you and your families asking God to wrap HIS loving arms around all of you and give you comfort and strength. Much love to all of you. Sunie Pace


  5. Amber(Cozort)Redburn
    December 29, 2023 @ 12:34 pm

    Vicky/Ted & Family, and Kenny/Jackie & Family,

    Our Deepest Sympathy to all of you on the passing of Mary Jo. She was a joy to be around with her smile, wonderful personality, and her love for others. She will be missed. At this time, may God provide peace, comfort, encouragement, and strength to all of you. We will be keeping all of you in our daily prayers and thoughts. May God bless all of you.
    In Christian Love,
    Norris and Ivene Cozort
    Tim, Amber(Cozort), and Corby Redburn


  6. Lori Massengale
    December 29, 2023 @ 1:04 pm

    Our deepest sympathy to the Baker and Deatherage families. Miss Mary Jo was a special lady and will be missed by all.


    • Bonnie Phillips
      December 29, 2023 @ 2:03 pm

      So sorry to hear this. She was a special lady for sure! Love and prayers to your families!


  7. Melinda K DeShazo Brenton
    December 29, 2023 @ 1:45 pm

    Vicky & Doc ~ Kenny & Jackie,
    I am saddened to hear of your loss of your sweet Mom! I met her many years ago, and she like I, never really met a stranger and never forget each others faces, always speaking and catching up in passing wimhenever and wherever we seen each other around West Plains. But, I moved several years ago now, and haven’t been back much since and I haven’t seen her in passing and I miss her sweet smile and kindness,that was so heart warming, so few carry it with them anymore. May you each find comfort in knowing that you have the opportunity to see her again and that she will never be too far away from her children and grandchildren watching over, loving and guiding each of you until the day she gets to finally be with you once again.


  8. David and Carrie Thompson
    December 29, 2023 @ 4:38 pm

    So sad to hear this news. She was always so upbeat and the life of the party. We worked together at Employment Security and I loved her. Vicky and Kenny you and your family will be in my prayers. Can’t say enough good about your mother.


  9. Tim & Tracy (DePriest) Reed
    December 29, 2023 @ 9:48 pm

    Vicky, Kenny, and families, Your Mother was a special lady. You will miss her so much. Hold tight to your memories. They are priceless! Our love and prayers are with you. ❤️


  10. Lindall Mostajo
    December 30, 2023 @ 12:13 am

    I was so sad to hear that sweet Mary Jo is no longer here on this earth but I am so happy she is now in Heaven. I never saw her once that she wasn’t laughing or smiling. She was beautiful and such a joy to be around. I loved when we were home and she’d drop by to see “Aunt Mabel”, my mom. They were quite fond of each other.
    We had a Heselton reunion in August but she said she just didn’t feel like coming. I’m sad we didn’t get that time with her. Vicki, we are praying for you and Kenny and all your families during this time of loss. May God comfort you and give you peace.


  11. Hassel and Alice Vandergriff
    December 30, 2023 @ 7:03 am

    We are so sorry to hear of Mary Jo’s passing. You are in our prayers.


  12. Ruth (Heselton) Crouch
    December 30, 2023 @ 8:48 am

    I woke up this morning to a text from my sister Lindall that our sweet and full of life cousin Mary Jo passed away. When I talked to her on the phone in August she was just as vibrant as ever and I told her we would try to do a road trip and visit. I am sad we didn’t make that happen in time. I unfortunately cannot get there in time for the service to see my family and say goodbye. Every time I make tacos I remember Aunt Virginia bringing the stuff to make them with to Mary Jo’s house and my mother asking Preacher Roe to order the seasonings for her and I have enjoyed them ever since. My heartfelt sympathy and prayers for my cousins Vicky and Kenny and their families. Love you.
    Ruth Ann


  13. Sharon Gaston
    December 30, 2023 @ 12:51 pm

    I am saddened to learn of Mary Jo’s passing. We worked together close to 30 years at Employmemt Security. We loved to enjoy laughing at and with each other. I know the family will miss her so much. She was a force of life. Always kind and caring. RIP my friend.


  14. Larry and Pam Coffman
    December 30, 2023 @ 7:22 pm

    Vicky and family. We are so very sorry to hear about the passing of your sweet mom. We had so many great conversations, over the yesrs. May God give you all comfort and strength. Sending love and prayers.


  15. Rosemary Owens
    December 31, 2023 @ 1:16 pm

    Just heard this morning at church (Ruth Couch) of Mary Jo passing.
    Jo and I go way back —high school, Church of God and youth group, early adulthood, and until we married. I moved to Springfield and we became involved with our families. Hardly ever saw each other but when we did we would just pick up where we had left off. So many memories! She was truly one of my best friends! I am so sorry for your loss and you, Vicky, Kenny and families, are in my prayers.


  16. Tammy Cathey
    December 31, 2023 @ 7:49 pm

    So sorry for your loss. She touched so many lives including mine. I was so distraught after being fired from being secretary from a factory where I visited withMary Jo over 9yrs. Anyway I went in her office cried at her desk because I thought my life was over…she called on my way home & had me an interview that day. Called & did follow up….She truly had heart of gold.


  17. Gary & Bev Pliler
    January 1, 2024 @ 2:00 pm

    So very sorry for your loss!! God’s comfort & Blessings to the family!!


  18. Brenda Williams
    January 1, 2024 @ 2:30 pm

    Vicki and Kenny I am so sorry about Mary Jo. She was a truly lovely lady.


  19. Cindy Cole
    January 1, 2024 @ 4:48 pm

    Vicky and Kenny, so sorry to hear about your mom. She was so sweet. I know you will miss her dearly.


  20. Karla Williams Shelley
    January 17, 2024 @ 10:29 am

    So sorry for your loss. Mary Jo was such a sweet lady and she will be missed.


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