Iris Mae (Wilson) Baumgardner was born on September 4, 1927, the only child of Clarence Glenn and Edythe Martha (Fuchs) Wilson. God called Iris from her home in Mount Vernon, Texas to her heavenly home on September 25, 2020.
Iris was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where her father worked for the Ford Motor Company. When World War II halted the production of automobiles, the family moved to Parsons, Kansas, so that her father could take a job working at the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. When Iris was sixteen, her mother died. Iris missed her mother every day for the rest of her life. As every cloud has a silver lining, her father re-married a widow with a young daughter, giving Iris her beloved sister, Lois.
Iris met Parsons native, James Daniel Baumgardner, when she and a group of girlfriends were entertained by J.D. spreading mustard on a napkin and eating it to the delight of his buddies. Iris and J.D. married on October 28, 1945, in the chapel at the Naval Shipyard in San Diego, California. The above photograph is the same photo J.D. has carried in his wallet for over 70 years.
After living in California for several years, Iris and J.D. moved back to Parsons. Although Iris was a city girl, her family was her priority. She was a wonderful mother who served as a PTA member, room mother and den mother. She never said “no” to her grandchildren and never tired of working puzzles, playing games and watching movies with them.
Iris was a voracious reader and her home is filled with thousands of books, all of which she had read. Reading kept Iris abreast of all things pop culture and she was always “in the know.” To the amazement of her grandchildren, she read all of the Harry Potter books. Iris loved to play bridge and over the years was a member of numerous bridge clubs. She was an incredibly talented seamstress who could see an item of clothing, create a pattern, and make it for herself or her daughter. She always found it remarkable that her daughter was so proud to wear the clothes that her mother had made because, when Iris was growing up, everyone wanted “store-bought” clothes instead of homemade ones.
When it came time for Iris and J.D. to retire, they moved to Texas where both of their children and their younger grandchildren lived. J.D. served as mayor of both Parsons and Mount Vernon. Iris was a private person who never sought the spotlight, but gladly served as J.D.’s support in all of his many community activities. Iris was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.
Iris will be remembered for her devotion to family, her gentle spirit and her full-of-surprises personality. As friends noted, she was given the “grace of piecrust” and was known for her fantastic baking skills. Iris prided herself in her appearance, had her hair and nails done weekly, and never left the house without her lipstick on. Iris was a true beauty, inside and out, who will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to know her.
Iris was preceded in death by her parents, her sister and husband Lois and Ken Markham, her brother-in-law Charles Baumgardner, her sister-in-law and husband Lillie Mae and Arthur Laurell, and her brother-in-law and wife Tom and Jo Baumgardner. Iris is survived by her husband of 75 years and their children, James Daniel Baumgardner, Jr. of San Antonio and T S Morgan of Dallas. Iris also is survived by six grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, eleven nieces and nephews and her brother-in law and wife Gerald and Sandy Baumgardner.
Iris’s remains will be interred in the Baumgardner family plot at Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Parsons. A celebration of her life will be held at First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon on October 17, 2020 at 11:00 am. All who love Iris are welcome. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please wear a mask and observe social distancing. Also, due to the pandemic, the family will not be greeting celebrants after the service.
Online condolences may be made at: www.samharveyfuneralhome.com
Services entrusted to Sam B. Harvey Funeral Home.
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