Robert Lee Baker

Baker, Robert Lee
August 20, 1927 - November 15, 2012, age 85. Dr. Robert L. (Bob) Baker passed away from complications following a long battle with cancer, at home in Palos Verdes Estates, California, with his wife Mary Dye Baker at his side. Bob was an exceptional and generous mentor-to his students, his family, associates and friends. His extensive interests, insight and intelligence and his genuine personal interest in the success of others will be missed by all of us who had the honor to know and love him. His commitment to research for the purpose of improving instructional opportunity for public school students has left a lasting legacy. Born and raised in Salina, Kansas, Bob was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service in the U.S. Army at the end of WWII and in the Korean War. He earned his Doctorate of Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), and joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1955. In 1966, he was a founding director of the Southwest Regional Laboratory (SWRL) for educational research, shortly after which he and his family moved to Palos Verdes Estates. In the late '70s he returned to academia, joining the faculty at the University of Southern California while continuing to consult on projects for SWRL and the Los Angeles Unified School District. He remained active at USC well into his eighties as Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Technology at the The Rossier School of Education. Bob is survived by his wife, Mary, daughter Katherine and her husband Henry Caroselli, son Scott and his wife Laurie, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by his older brother Kendall, and survived by younger twin siblings Bill Baker of Colorado Springs, CO, and Betsy Peck of Anderson, IN, as well as nieces Sue (Pierce) Giles of Tucson and Sally (Pierce) Von Summer of Washington, D.C. A gathering of family and friends will be held at the Palos Verdes Golf Club on Friday, November 23, 2012, at noon. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting your local public schools. Share a memory at

Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 18, 2012