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John R. Baird

John R. Baird

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July 30, 2015
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July 30, 2015
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January 15, 2015
John, you were my neighbor and best friend after I had moved back to Vermont in 2001. Having recently come off the intensity of my husband's sudden passing, you were the soft landing that I so desperately needed.
We wasted no time becoming close friends, communicating several times a day. We shared many activities; your home concerts, jeep rides in the country, dining, my family's events, and bicycling. Yes, bicycling. Oh, the joy you felt being "back in the saddle" after being away from it since your youth.
Remember the sunsets we watched from either of our homes on Malletts Bay, or the Burlington Water Front? Our deep and insightful conversations helped me to no end. Even our quiet moments felt deep.
But, sadly, all good things must end, I guess. At some point, many family tragedies and other challenges converged in my life, and shot me back up to the surface for some time.
I cannot express enough my sorrow for being unable to return to our same spot; another spot, absolutely, but that never happened. Therefore, I missed the last three years of your life, and your sunset.
But know this, John, my beloved, best friend: I am solidly right here - loving and appreciating your afterglow.
Love you always,
Denise T. Beers
August 06, 2014
I knew John at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater when he was on the faculty there. He directed me in my first "Figaro" in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, I role I went on to do professionally with several different companies. He was my first voice teacher's roommate and friend at Northwestern University. I was saddened to find this. He was a gentleman and a gentle man. Thanks for touching my life, John R. Baird - you made a difference.
July 01, 2014
To the families of John and Cathy,
I had the pleasure of meeting this lovely couple after spending a summer in Vermont to study with Elsa Hilger. We saw each other periodically, particularly when they would travel to the Philadelphia area to present a recital. They were so devoted to Miss Hilger and clearly cared so much for her. Unfortunately, we lost touch over the years - I never have been very good at writing - but I thought of them often. They were delightful people. I'm sorry that I can't get in touch with them again, but I feel richer for having known them both. I just thought you should know that.
April 30, 2014
I will miss you walking on the road.
April 09, 2014
We had the pleasure of seeing John weekly for about 4 years when our son was his tuba student. He was a gifted teacher and such a positive influence on our young teen. His wit and good cheer always brightened my day.
April 05, 2014
John,
We met in first grade, and were best friends into high school. You tried to teach me how to carry a tune, a lost cause but you made a good effort. We spent many hours, talking into the night and trying to solve the world's problems, or at least the ones about girls. You helped me study for the exam in our World History class in 1954. Thanks for your help. I meant to tell you before.
Once, you and I constructed long-range peashooters, high tech for the day, making them from three foot long plastic candy canes purchased at Woolworths 5 & 10. We discarded the curved handle and emptied the candy from the very straight 30” tube, the perfect barrel. Our ammunition peas came from the A&P on East State Street. The best experience of that summer-- shooting from the top of the Ferris wheel when the carnival came to town. We were 7th graders who knew everything worth knowing at the time, in 1951, in Montpelier.
Your father, Ken, was my first boss, and your cousin Tommy, my first co-worker. We painted your parents' apartment house on Main Street. We were fifteen, but we were making good money -- $1.25 an hour. The job went well until we let Ken's brand new, orange, forty-foot wooden extension ladder slip off the third story eave and watched in teenaged horror as it splintered in the driveway next to his construction company office. Ken was talking with his bookkeeper when we walked in and we waited a long, long time to relay our news. He was not pleased with us but was more understanding than we deserved and he kept us on for the rest of the summer. He was also patient when you and I broke the window and when we built a fort inside his drying lumber pile. But, not so much when we dug a grave-sized hole in the middle of your parents' lawn. He insisted, harshly I thought, that we immediately fill it back in. His decision seems more reasonable now, looking back those three score years and five or so. We must have been in fourth or fifth grade.
John still makes me laugh. I remember once, many years ago, when I asked John if he had seen a mutual friend recently, he said, “Yes, I saw him in Burlington but he ducked around a corner before I could get off a clear shot.”
John, today is your 75th birthday. I hope that you and Cathy are out there, and well. Thanks for all the music and wit. I'm glad we were friends.
Brad
March 17, 2014
One thing the obituary did not convey was John's sense of humor. One time, upon being served a picture-perfect slice of home-made lemon meringue pie (his favorite), John said of his hostess (and baker of the pie), "Look! She's showing off again!" John, I will miss your caring presence in our family, your dry wit, and wonderful puns. Love, Helen
March 14, 2014
John,

Thanks for all you did for music in our state.
March 14, 2014
John Russell, you are gone from this earth but shall remain as always, in my heart. Thank you for your loving kindness which will never be forgotten. How I shall miss our brilliant conversations and the sound of your laughter. You are deeply missed my dear, sweet friend. Onward!
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