Dick Baker was born on Sept. 11, 1939 in Canton, Ohio. He died July 14, 2018 of complications following a bad fall, surrounded by family and his closest friends.
Dick attended Oberlin College, where he was an All American on the lacrosse team, and went on to medical school at Case Western Reserve, followed by residencies at the University-VA hospitals in Cleveland and at the University of California and VA hospitals in San Francisco.
His professional career began in Rochester, New York, where he was an Attending Associate at Highland Hospital and instructor of family medicine at the University of Rochester. Dick then had a stint in the U.S. Air Force where he was Deputy Hospital Commander at the base in Grand Forks, North Dakota and also an Assistant Professor of Medicine & Psychiatry at the University of North Dakota. He completed his Air Force duties with a year in Thailand treating Vietnam War casualties.
After discharge in 1972, Dick served for 30-plus years as a Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, UC San Diego, the University of North Carolina and then back at UW. As author or co-author of some 38 medical science publications, his teaching and writing concentrated on medical education, health promotion and disease prevention.
Dick and his wife, gerontologist Dr. Jeannette Franks, moved to Bainbridge Island in 1999. He worked part time in family practice at North Kitsap Urgent Care and Virginia Mason Winslow. Over time, he devoted more of his life to a variety of volunteer service organizations, including IslandWood, Island Volunteer Caregivers, the UW Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, and End of Life Washington. He is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Jeannette Franks.
Beloved by all who knew him, Dick will be greatly missed. He was influential through his work and volunteerism, living by example. He left a mark on the lives of many. His innate kindness, generosity, intelligence, tolerance, and sense of humor were remarkable. He was never called Richard or Doctor, always Dick. One friend said he was the family doctor everyone wished that they had.
Contributions in remembrance can be made to IslandWood, Island Volunteer Caregivers, or Planned Parenthood.