Chief engineer who oversaw the transition from the Holiday Inn to the UCR Extension Center passes away at age 86.
By Lauri Topete on August 14, 2018
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By Suzanne Hartzell
Through the years, UCR Extension has been fortunate to have exceptional people in its family. Last weekend, it lost one of its most colorful characters, John Baker, the chief engineer who oversaw the transition from the Holiday Inn to the UCR Extension Center.
John Frederick BakerAugust 23, 1931-August 5, 2018
Baker came to UCR in 1992, took complete control of the project, and brought it in both on budget and on time. It was no small task turning an old hotel into an office building complete with classrooms, a conference center, and a residence center for international students, but Baker didn’t disappoint. He took great pride in his work, and in how the building presented itself to the staff, students, and community.
He reported to work every day, dressed as a dapper gentleman, with a very long list of rules and the expectation that everyone would follow them. If they didn’t, “goals would not be met,” Baker would say. Staff often remember him and Dean Jack Azzaretto walking down the hall together, and greeting them with a “Hi, Jack” and “Good Morning, Mr. Baker.” Those were the rules, and it would always lend itself to a giggle.
Baker leaves behind his wife of 66 years, Maureen, who also had a long tenure with UCR Extension’s International Education Programs, or IEP, as a counselor. His oldest son, Nick, DJ’ed for IEP in the 1980s for their many dances at the Barn. The “Baker connection” to UCR Extension was definitely a family affair. Baker is also survived by son, Dave; daughter-in-law, Laurie; son-in-law, Freddie; grandchildren, Kira, Jett, and Jade, and many dear relatives and friends.
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