Kory Baker
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Kory John Paradise Baker left this world far too early on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016.

Kory's magnetic personality touched more people than we might ever know. If you met Kory even once, he had the ability to embody a best friend. Kory grew up in Rochester and attended John Marshall High School, where he played golf and knew basically everyone in the school. He then went onto college at Duluth and UW-LaCrosse, where he consistently made the dean's list and even more wonderful lifelong friends. After college he enlisted as a medic in the U.S. Army, served in Iraq, and most recently was living in Chicago. And, you guessed it, more friends and lifelong bonds were forged along the way.

Kory was a lover of live music, golf, laughter, animals and pizza. In fact, he could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner — cooked, burnt or even raw. Kory was one of the most compassionate and sensitive humans on the planet. In second grade, he had a hamster named Kristen, and when she got sick we thought we might have to call a real ambulance. His laughter could be heard for miles, and his beautiful smile was contagious. But unfortunately, in addition to the millions of amazing traits Kory possessed, something possessed him. Kory fought a courageous battle against PTSD and substance addiction. What started innocently, quickly moved into pain pills, and culminated in heroin. And it would be that evil drug that was responsible for an accidental overdose after a stint of sobriety. It's every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child, but it is another terror altogether when it comes via the vice grip of addiction.

We loved Kory with every fiber of our bodies, but we now know that sometimes it isn't enough. We will never be able to understand the sadness and demons that Kory dealt with every hour of every day. Like all addicts, he had a way of only showing us what we wanted to see. Despite all of this, Kory had finally found the love of his life in his girlfriend, Kelly. Just knowing about the amazingly positive times that Kory and Kelly shared together over the past several months has been like oxygen to us. It literally is helping us breathe knowing how happy he was in the months before that fateful day. The pictures remind us of the fun, handsome, intelligent, wonderful man we all knew.

Words cannot express how much we will miss Kory/KJ. As painful as it is to write these words, we want the world to know that heroin addiction needs to be an issue at the forefront of our lives. This is an epidemic with an upward trajectory. If you're using pain meds like OxyContin, please know that they are incredibly dangerous, and can easily lead to heroin. If you're a parent/sibling/friend, and you suspect someone is in trouble, it is probably much worse than you can imagine. If you're an addict please know that there are people who love you like mad and will go through anything to get you help. No one should have to write any more obituaries like this.

We believe our amazing Kory is at peace. But the void left by his incredible presence will never ever diminish. Goodbye, KJ. We love you and miss you more than you might ever know. Love, Mom, Dad, Nikki, Bruce, Nicole, Amanda, Rachel, Paul (deceased), Amy, Katie, Julie, Kelly and many special aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and oh-so-many wonderful lifelong friends.

Please join us as we celebrate Kory's life this Friday, Feb. 26, at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Homes in Rochester. Funeral will be at 4 p.m., with a visitation starting at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, we would prefer memorials in Kory's name be directed to Recovery is Happening, 25 16th St. NE, Rochester, MN 55906.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Post-Bulletin on Feb. 24, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
March 23, 2016
you asked how i am, doing fine. i'm so sorry about Kory. I get so sad thinking about your family. if there is anything i can do, please let me know. Love you all , Charlie Auman
charlie auman
March 2, 2016
I did not know Kory or your family but I do know your story. Thank you for your courage in telling it.
February 27, 2016
Damn, addiction sucks, my prayers are with you,
Charlie Auman
February 26, 2016
My heart goes out to his family as they feel this loss but I know that Kory is a star shining in the sky just as he shined here during his short life. He is watching over us as he makes a whole new batch of friends above.
February 25, 2016
Heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends during this difficult time. I hope that the promise found at
1 Thessalonians 4:14 will bring you comfort. Knowing that there is a future for the ones we have lost in death can be reassuring.
February 25, 2016
My prayers are with Kory's family and friends. I didn't know Kory, but we have similar situations in our family, and like Kory, the people with these addictions are beautiful people whom the families love immensely, but those ugly drugs..........May your family feel the Lords arms around you as you go through this grieving time. Sincerely, Gloria
February 25, 2016
Love and Peace Kory as you continue your journey.
Kevin Swancutt
February 25, 2016
My prayers are with all of you! I did not know Kory but what a beautiful person he must have been. And what a blessing to all of you to have had him in your life even if the time was to short. Praise you for writing about his addiction as it is taking so many of our young people. May God's mercy carry you all through. Carol
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