BAKER - John A. "Jack" Age 79, in Sarasota, FL. February 3, 1936 - May 27, 2015, of Amherst, NY and Sarasota, FL. A professor of physical education and exercise science at the University at Buffalo Department of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science for more than 20 years and an active UB and community volunteer. Born in Rochester, NY, Jack received his Bachelor of Science degree from Brockport State College in 1958 and his Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado in 1963, where he met his wife of 51 years, Leila A. (Reese). From 1963-1965, he was an instructor at the University of Portland, OR, and later earned his doctorate from Arizona State University in 1967. He was assistant professor at Murray State University, KY from 1967 - 1974, serving as President of the Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in 1972. Jack joined the University at Buffalo Department of Physical Education in 1974 as Associate Professor. During his 21 years at UB, he served as Chairman of the Department of Physical Education from 1974-1977, which later evolved into the Department of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science. Jack also founded and directed the UB Faculty/Staff Health-Related Fitness Program. Following his retirement in 1995, Jack was an active member of the UB Emeritus Center and Retired Employee Volunteers-University Program (REV-UP) and also volunteered many years for The Food Shuttle of Western New York and the Charitable Giving Committee at St. Christopher's Church. Throughout his career, Jack coached football, basketball, and swimming, was head baseball coach at the University of Portland and coach and board member of the New York State West Youth Soccer Association. He was an assistant Boy Scout leader in the Greater Niagara Frontier Council and held many leadership positions in THE WILLOW RIDGE CIVIC ASSOCIATION. Jack climbed 35 state highpoints and served on the board of the National Highpointers Club. In his retirement, Jack and Lee spent many weeks in their Sarasota home, enjoying cycling, tennis and kayaking. Jack's summers were spent in Buffalo, crewing with friends in the Spinnaker division of the Wilson Harbor Yacht Racing Association. For 40 years, Jack was a member of the New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NYS AHPERD). At the Western Zone level he served as President (1979) and Conference Manager. At the State level, he served as Treasurer for 13 years, President from 2001- 2002, Retiree Section President from 2012-2013, Editor of the NYS AHPERD Journal, President of the Higher Education and Research Section, and member of the Conference Site Selection Committee. Jack presented workshops for AHPERD at zone, state, district and national levels. His various honors within NYS AHPERD include the Distinguished Service Award, the Council for Physical Education Service Award, the Higher Education Section Service Award and the Higher Education and Research Section Service Award. Most recently, Jack was awarded the Brockport Alumni Outstanding Service Award. Surviving in addition to his wife are two children Dr. Amy M. (David) Price of Cambridge, England and Lt. Cmdr. Erik R. (Amy) Baker, USN of Kailua, HI, seven grandchildren, brother Donald (Lynn), sister Lois Schafer, nieces and nephews. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Sarasota on June 13, 2015 with burial in Mary's Garden. A Memorial Mass will be held this summer at St. Christopher Catholic Church, Tonawanda. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the NYS AHPERD Foundation, 77 N. Ann Street, Little Falls, NY 13365 or The College at Brockport Foundation, Physical Education Lecture Series, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY 14420.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by Buffalo News on Jun. 7, 2015.