David Kenneth BakerDavid Kenneth Baker, of 101 Bundy Road, Ithaca, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at the age of 88.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 2, 1923, Ken was the son of the late David Thomas and Edith (Horner) Baker. His father was an iron worker that fled Scotland in 1929 during the depression and migrated to Canada, leaving the family behind until he could find work.   Following his high school graduation, Ken attended McMaster University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Chemistry and he continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his Master’s Degree in Physics. His first position was at Union College, in Schenectady, NY, teaching Physics.  He worked summers as the director of the National Science Foundation Summer Institute, and spent a year abroad as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of St. Andrews, in St. Andrews Scotland.  He continued his career at St. Lawrence University as a Vice President and Dean of students from 1967 through 1976. His career culminated at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California where Ken held the position of College President. During these California years, Ken continued to sit on numerous advisory boards, including the Advisory Committee of the Institute for Advancement of Engineering, which he chaired in 1982.  He served as President of the Association of Independent Engineering Colleges from 1979-1982.  In his retirement Ken sat on the Board of Directors of the Sound Shore Fund, and was an active member of what was then the PEW Foundation.

Ken was an avid sportsman who could often be found playing ice hockey, building a sailboat at the age of 16 to perfect his sailing skills, skiing (which he did well into his late 70’s), or enjoying other outdoor activities. However, from the time Ken was a young boy, golf was his favorite pastime. Ken was a lifetime member of Crystal Downs Country Club, an Alistair MacKenzie Design, in Frankfort, Michigan where he served as President of the golf course, overseeing a variety of projects including the construction of a new clubhouse, maintenance barn and driving range.  He retired in 1988, to summer in North Carolina, where his first task was to make a cart path from the garage to the golf course.  He spent his winters golfing in North Carolina, and summers in Michigan, while enjoying the company of his grandchildren and family. 

Ken had a lifelong association with the Congregational Summer Assembly in Frankfort, an area he was first introduced to by acquaintances from Union College,   He had a cottage shell erected in 1960 which was completed by Ken and his sons over the next 10 years  This summer cottage that has been enjoyed by his family for the past 50 years. Whether on the shores of Lake Michigan or in the comfort of home, Ken’s most cherished moments were those spent with family.

Ken is survived by his wife of 64 years, Vivian Baker of Ithaca; a son, Rick (Kathy) Baker of Trumansburg; two grandsons, Jacob Baker of Ithaca and Nathan Baker of Trumansburg; and a brother, Gordon (Lou) Baker of Hamilton, Ontario. In addition to his parents, Ken was preceded in death by a son, Paul Baker; a grandson, Ian Baker; and a brother, Ronald Baker.

 In keeping with Ken’s wishes, services will be private.

The family asks those who wish to make a contribution in Ken’s memory to kindly consider the Alzheimer’s Association, 441 West Kirkpatrick Street, Syracuse, NY 13204, the Parkinson’s Alliance, 1 Handhewn Way, Manlius, NY 13104 or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 4053 Maple Road, Amherst, NY 14226.