Harold Baker

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Harold Reid Baker June 29,1927 March 18, 2011 Harold was born in Merrickville, Ontario, to Milburn and Evelyn Baker (nee Baldwin). The youngest of six children, he was favoured, loved and admired by all his siblings. He was predeceased by his parents, granddaughter Tori Slade, brothers and spouses Mervin and Winnie, Arden and Lillian, sisters and spouses Vera and Arthur Moorhouse, Elsie and Trevor Pelton, and sister Fern Bryan. Left to remember him are his loving wife of 54 years, Phyllis; his son Brian with wife Tracy and their sons Davis, Liam and Seth; daughter Diane with husband Robert Phillips and their sons Alex, Arden, Avery and Aaron; daughter Brenda with husband Arthur Slade and their daughter Tanaya; brother-in-law Carl Bryan; fifteen nieces and nephews and their families; and many friends and colleagues. Harold studied animal science at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Toronto, following a two-year program at Kemptville Agricultural School. He was then employed as an Ag Rep advising farmers and promoting 4-H and Junior Farmer programs in Wentworth and Huron counties in Ontario. He soon realized it would be of benefit to better understand group dynamics and how people interact. This led him to a Master of Science degree in Extension Education at the University of Wisconsin. A serendipitous series of events resulted in his attaining a PhD in Rural Education and Sociology at Cornell University in 1958. As his studies were nearing completion, Harold was invited to join the new Centre for Community Studies at the University of Saskatchewan where he participated in groundbreaking research regarding the future of Saskatchewan's rural communities. From 1963 to 1973 he served as Professor and Director of the university's Extension Division. He continued to work in Extension, maintaining a strong focus on community development, until his retirement in 1994. He was always proud of the university and Saskatoon and couldn't wait to show off the campus and the river view to visitors. Harold's approach to life was based on two things: first, a strong religious faith demonstrated by his dedication to the well-being of his church home, Grosvenor Park United, and second, his lifelong membership in Rotary International. He strove to live by Rotary's Four-Way Test, which reads: Of the things we think, say or do 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build good will and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? He also lived by the Rotary motto: Service Above Self. From his local home and school association to city-wide organizations, from provincial to national to international boards of directors of all kinds, Harold was always contributing, often as chair. He enjoyed these experiences immensely and made many lifelong friends. Harold loved the outdoors, and was an avid gardener when living at his cottage at Blackstrap Lake, perhaps his favourite place on the planet. He took great pride in the process and completion of hands-on, physically demanding projects. The few free hours he had were spent woodworking and taking photos. His last decade was devoted to genealogy. Harold's greatest love of all was his family and this was expressed in some way every day. He lived mindfully, leading by example, and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. We were so blessed when improved health allowed him to spend his final Christmas holiday in Mexico to ring in the New Year with Phyllis, all of his children and grandchildren. In 2010, after years of research and despite failing health, Harold published A Baker Family History, which chronicles the lives of over 700 members of our family. This was to be his final and greatest gift to us, to his extended family, and to the generations to come. A Celebration of Harold Baker's Life will be held at Grosvenor Park United Church (407 Cumberland Ave. S.) on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm. Condolences may be sent to mail@saskatoonfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Harold's memory to The Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Saskatchewan Down Syndrome Society, Grosvenor Park United Church Memorial Fund, or a charity of choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to SASKATOON FUNERAL HOME (244-5577).
Published in The The Star Phoenix from Mar. 23 to Mar. 24, 2011
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