Horace Ross Baker Jr.
Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Service
472 Meadowland Drive, Suite 7
South Burlington, VT
Horace Ross Baker, Jr., a resident of the Wake Robin Continuing Care Community in Shelburne, VT, died Monday morning, September 13, 2021, as the result of respiratory failure from coronavirus pneumonia. He was 97. We will miss his intrepid spirit, his love for adventure, his sterling sense of humor, his fondness for telling a good story, his sense of decency, duty and loyalty, and the love and devotion to his children that were the cornerstone of his union with his wife, Laurie, who predeceased him in 2019. Horace was a man of deep conscience and conviction who believed in community and loved his country. He modeled a work ethic of sacrifice, discipline and commitment. He was generous and giving. He loved being on the water and took great pleasure in excursions with his friends on Massachusetts Bay and on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee in his lapstrake Grady White and later in his Century. He was renowned and admired for his willingness to take anyone waterskiing at any time. He enjoyed bass fishing for many years on Spednic and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes in Maine with his friend and colleague, the late Rod Hunsaker, and their guide, John Gaskins of Pennsylvania. Horace was born in Akron, Ohio March 8, 1924, the son of Horace Ross Baker and Helen Baldwin Baker. He was an Eagle Scout. He attended Buchtel High School, Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Service in World War II interrupted his education. Horace rose to the rank of technical sergeant, serving from 1943-1946 in the 97th Army Infantry Division, G-2 Section in the European Theatre of Operation, known as Patton's Army. He was in Czechoslovakia on V-E Day. He was then reassigned to the Pacific Theatre of Operation, where he became part of the occupying force in Japan. Horace graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1947, a member of the Class of 1945. Harvard Law School followed, from which he graduated in 1951. He was also a graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program in 1962 and the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in 1973. Horace and Phyllis Laurence Green of Brookline, Mass. married December 18, 1948. In 1955, they moved to Hingham, Massachusetts, where they lived for 44 years until 1999. He was committed to and deeply involved in public service as a member of several town committees including the Hingham Planning Board and, from 1967-1975, as member and chair of the Board of Buildings and Zoning Appeals. For many years, he served as member and president of the Harvard Club of Hingham and member and chair of its Schools and Scholarship Committee, and as a director of the former Hingham Cooperative Bank. He was a member of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1960 - 63. From 1964 - 69, he served successively as member, vicechair and chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Health Insurance Association of America. In 1951, he was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and, that same year, joined the Law Department of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he spent his legal career, rising through the ranks and earning a reputation among his colleagues and throughout the life insurance industry for his honesty and integrity. A Resolution by the John Hancock Board of Directors, presented to Horace at his retirement, stated, in part: "He had a distinguished career as lawyer, executive, valued counselor, citizen and friend. He chaired numerous industry groups, serving with characteristic patience, fairness and intelligence, earning the respect and admiration of both regulators and colleagues, as evidenced by his election as chair of the Legal Section of the American Life Insurance Association in 1975. Throughout his career, he demonstrated a remarkable ability to achieve consensus among disparate interests. His younger associates always knew him as a willing listener, friend and mentor. His hallmarks were integrity, courage, compassion and self-discipline." After 36 years with John Hancock, Horace retired in 1987 as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. In 1999, he and Laurie fulfilled a years'-held dream by moving to a home they designed and had built on Piper's Point on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Alton, New Hampshire. They lived there happily until 2008, when they moved to Wake Robin in Shelburne, VT. His wife of 71 years, Laurie, predeceased him. His children survive him: Robert C. Baker and his wife, Robin of Medina, OH, their grandchildren, Lainey and Logan and their mother, Misha Hanna, and Paul Hanna and his son, William; Warren Baker and Sharon M. Coleman of Burlington, VT and their daughter, Amelia Coleman, husband, Nate Bechtel and son, Bowie of Colchester, VT; David and April Baker of Platteville, WI and their son, Nick of Madison, WI; and Emily L. Baker and Shu-Ming Peng of London, England, and their children, Zoe and Quinlan, both of New York City. Horace was the eldest of four brothers: Robert B. Baker and his wife, Leila, of Bath, OH; David B. Baker and his wife, Ursula, of Akron, OH; and the late Michael D. Baker and his wife, Susan. He also leaves his brothers- and sisters-in-law, Ariel Tose of Essex Junction, VT; Galen Green and his wife, Leslie of Manomet, MA; and Winslow Green of Bolton, MA. Horace is also survived by many nieces and nephews, in whom he took great delight and they in him. We bid our loving father farewell, knowing that, after years of hard work and diligence, his spirit dwells in a place in which he is finding comfort and rest after a long life lived to its fullest. Horace was a man of honor, embodying these words by his namesake, Quintus Horatius Flaccus (December 8, 65 BC November 27, 8 BC): "A good and faithful judge ever prefers the honorable to the expedient." Funeral arrangements are in the care of Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Service of South Burlington, VT. A Circle of Remembrance will be held at Wake Robin at a date to be announced. A celebration of Horace's life will precede a private burial in the family plot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass in the spring of 2022. In honor of a commitment that Horace especially enjoyed, you may make a donation in his name to The Loon Preservation Committee, P.O. Box 604, 183 Lee's Mill Road, Moultonborough, NH 03254, or at https://loon.org/donations.

Published by Akron Beacon Journal on Sep. 26, 2021.
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