Marjorie Kenison Baskett

Marjorie Kenison Baskett

Marjorie Kenison Baskett, 94, of Columbia passed away peacefully May 24, 2020, at Lenoir Woods. A private graveside service will be held at Ashland Cemetery in rural Howard County, near the site of her husband’s historic family farm. A celebration of her full life will be held at a later date.

Born June 28, 1925, in Worth County, Iowa, to Roy and Althea Hummel Kenison, Mrs. Baskett grew up on a farm near Bolan, Iowa. Marge, or Margie, as she was known to friends and family, attended a one-room school then graduated from Kensett High School and the Hamilton School of Commerce in Iowa. In the 1940s, she moved to Ames, Iowa, where she worked as a secretary in the physics department at Iowa State College (later University) and enrolled in economics classes, then a rare major for a young woman. She was soon recruited to work in a secretive federal job, which she later learned was the Manhattan Project that produced the atomic bomb.

When the war effort ended, she moved to Iowa State’s zoology and entomology department, where she met Thomas S. Baskett, a Missouri-born naval officer returning to finish his doctorate in wildlife conservation. They were married on Valentine’s Day in 1947, and the next year they came to Columbia, where Dr. Baskett served as a federal biologist and professor at MU. Except for periods in Connecticut and Maryland, they spent their entire married lives in Columbia. Tom passed away in 1999 after 52 years of marriage. Later, Marge was married for a time to Leland Schaperkotter of Columbia.

She is survived by son, Richard Baskett, his wife, Jennifer, and their son Paul, all of Columbia; daughter, Jann Baskett, her husband, Randy Franklin, and their son, Charlie Franklin of Austin, Texas; and son Tom Baskett Jr., his wife, the Rev. Laura Walters Baskett of DeLand, Florida, and their son, William Baskett, a graduate student at MU. She also leaves a brother, Donald Kenison, and his wife, Darlene, of Albert Lea, Minnesota. Another brother and three sisters preceded her in death. Many nieces and nephews across the U.S. will miss their popular aunt.

A beloved member of a large extended family, Marjorie Baskett was a modest, kind and sharp person, with friends reaching from Iowa to Missouri’s conservation community and beyond. Wildlifers recognized a strong partnership between Marge and Tom Baskett, and she was liked and admired by many professionals in that field. Her children had a loving, supportive mother, and her three grandchildren were, as she wrote, “her pride and joys.” Never losing her curiosity, she read constantly and continued to learn throughout her life.

Mrs. Baskett was a member of Missouri United Methodist Church, Chapter HK PEO and the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Auxiliary.

The Baskett family wishes to thank Dr. Karli Urban and Compassus Hospice for their kind care over the last few months. We’re also grateful to the staff of Lenoir Woods for providing our mother a caring home — in her house there, in assisted living and at the end of her life. The Rev. Sally Robinson, former chaplain at Lenoir, and now chaplain for the Columbia Area Older Adult Ministry, was a true friend.

Memorial checks can be made out to Ashland Cemetery or Lenoir Woods and sent to the Marjorie Baskett Memorial, c/o Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia, MO 65202.

Supervising Editor is Fred Anklam Jr. 

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

Recommended for you