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THOMAS OWEN BAKER


1933 - 2014
THOMAS OWEN BAKER Obituary
Tom Baker was born on June 2nd, 1933, in St. Louis, MO to Glen S. Baker and Sylvia D. Baker. He died in Kansas City, MO, on October 23rd, 2014. Tom's family moved to Kansas City in 1939 and settled in the Brookside area. Tom attended Border Star, Southwest High School, and the University of Missouri, Columbia, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Law Degree. After Law School, Tom served in the U.S. Air Force for three years. Upon returning to Kansas City, he joined the firm of Watson, Ess, Marshall and Enggas. Tom left that firm in 1982 to form Baker, Sterchi, Cowden and Rice. Tom's area of special expertise was the defense of product liability claims. He was exceptionally good at it, and became regional counsel for such companies as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and International Harvester. He was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers. The firm he co- founded now has more than 40 attorneys, with offices in Kansas City and St Louis. In 2002, Tom reconnected with his high school sweetheart Nancy Riffe, who had followed college with a successful modeling career in Paris. They married in 2004. Their ten years together were the happiest of Tom's life. As he grew older in years, Tom became younger in spirit. How else to explain that, for his eightieth birthday party, he hired a belly dancer and then engaged in a (partial) striptease with her. Tom was pre-deceased by his parents and by his first wife, Joanne Kollmann. He is survived by his wife Nancy; daughters Jennie and Julie Baker of Portland, OR; daughter Janice Nolan (Jim) of Denver, CO; stepsons Ali Eckert of Berlin, Germany and Johann Eckert of Nassau, Germany; brother James Baker (Sharon) and brother-in-law Hank Riffe (Joan); grandchildren Kelly and Robert Nolan; and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the City Union Mission, 1100 W 11th St, KCMO 64106, or Harvesters Community Food Network, 3801 Topping Ave, KCMO 64129. A memorial service will be held at the Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Pkwy, KCMO 64113, at 2pm on October 30, 2014, followed by a Celebration of Tom's Life 4- 6pm at the ballroom of the Sulgrave Regency, 200 W 49th St, KCMO 64112.
Published in Kansas City Star on Oct. 26, 2014
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