It is with profound sadness that we share the news that Jennifer Baker has died. She is loved and forever remembered by her daughters Amelia and Kayleigh, her husband Rob Rintoul, parents Jeannie and Lloyd Baker, siblings Julie, Jocelyn, and Les, in-laws Randy (Bonnie) Rintoul, Jacki Rintoul, Tammy Davey and Bea Mozden, as well as friends, colleagues, coworkers and other family.
Jennifer grew up on a farm outside Morden, where her childhood was filled with swimming in dugouts, cross country skiing across pastures, playing in tree houses, picking saskatoons and most importantly, the time Jennifer spent doing things with her Mom, Aunts and Gram, that made her the kind and caring person she would be as an adult. These lessons of kindness, compassion, caring and joy were passed on to the single greatest joys in her life, Amelia and Kayleigh.
Jen attended Maple Leaf Elementary School, Morden Junior High and then Morden Collegiate Institute. She was always a community participant, from Explorers, to her school drama club, band, choirs including Central Manitoba Youth Choir, youth groups, yearbook, volleyball and basketball teams and was even crowned Corn and Apple Princess as a way to support her community.
Jennifer always worked hard and was proud of the work she did. Her first jobs included lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons and even some time spent with Ag Canada studying Canola and flea beetles. Her career, however, was public health nursing. She received a BN and a Master of Nursing in Community Health and Development from the U of M. She worked in multiple locations such as with Boeing Canada and in Wabowden, where she was an extended practice community nurse. Jennifer also spent time as a public health nurse in Creighton Saskatchewan, St Boniface and Portage la Prairie. In the community, people often greeted Jen with expressions of how much “she meant to them” during her time as a public health nurse.
For the last 23 years she has held director and manager roles with the Regional Health Authority and has been a valued member of every staff team that have had the chance to work with her. As a manager, she was known to be supportive, encouraging and someone who could be relied upon. She spent countless unpaid extra hours over the recent covid-19 pandemic to support her staff and because it “just needed to get done”.
Jennifer always believed in community and valued inter-generational engagement. She was an active member of Trinity United Church and the Portage Refugee Coalition. She was a board member for various committees such as Portage Ukrainian Nursery School and ShortStop Rec Club. Jen always helped do whatever was asked of her and quietly got things done behind the scenes, preferring to give the spotlight to others. Jen’s manner was that of quiet, unassuming confidence in everything she did.
Music was a great joy to Jennifer. She enjoyed playing it, singing it, listening to it and dancing to it. Christmas music appeared as soon as Remembrance Day passed. She also loved camping, growing things and being outdoors with her friends at her farm property. She made it a practice of having a picnic outside on her birthday (in February) - even if it was soup in a mug on the porch. Family hikes were a particularly favorite pastime.
Jennifer believed strongly in hospitality. She liked to entertain and host people in her home, making them feel welcome and safe and included. She loved to make and share food with others and making it pretty was an important way to subtly show that she cared about the people she was sharing it with.
Foremost, Jen had the ability to make people feel heard, valued, and important. She believed deeply in fairness, kindness, the inherent potential in people and making space for everyone at the table. She was a brilliant critical thinker and problem solver who spent her life sensing and meeting the needs of those around her.
Jen had the ability to bring people together and bring out the best in them. Those people, whose lives she touched, will miss her greatly.
A funeral will be held on Tuesday April 4 at 1:00 p.m. at Trinity United Church, 15 Tupper St. S. Portage la Prairie. The service will be live streamed, see link below.
Memorial donations in Jen’s memory to Trinity United Church, 15 Tupper St S, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 1W7 or Kayleigh and Amelia’s education fund Account # 110020813603, cheques can be mailed or dropped off at the Royal Rd. Branch of Stride Credit Union, 19 Royal Rd. N. Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N 1T9 or to the Women Who Care Fund c/o The Community Foundation of Portage and District, 206 Saskatchewan Ave E, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 0K9 are gratefully appreciated.
A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.