In Loving Memory:

Richard Bruce Baird

Richard Bruce Baird 1937-2017

Richard Bruce Baird passed away on Wednesday, September 13th at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Rick leaves behind his wife, Jan Jorn-Baird of Sonora, his brother and sister-in-law Tom Baird and Kathy Nolan of Lafayette, his daughter and son-in-law Kristen and Steven Doherty of Menlo Park, his son and daughter-in-law David Baird and Miken Wong of Woodland Hills, his grandchildren Emily and Katelyn Doherty, and a wealth of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

Rick was born on July 25th, 1937 in Fresno, California to Richard St. George Baird and Lillian Mary Sturgeon Baird. He was a 5th generation Californian. His family travelled to California in 1858 in a covered wagon and settled in the central valley. His great grandmother, Virginia Mills, ran a 50 room hotel and stagecoach stop at Tollhouse, east of Fresno.

Raised in Fresno, Rick graduated from Fresno High School in 1955. His father introduced him to golf at an early age, and Rick became an avid and accomplished player. He won the annual Fort Washington Golf Club tournament as a teenager, annoying the regulars enough that they banned juniors from entering the tournament in the following years. He was the darling of Fresno golf, often interviewed on the local radio station and written up in the Fresno Bee.

During his teens and twenties, Rick competed in a variety of amateur tournaments at both the state and national level, including once being paired in match play against a young prodigy named Jack Nicklaus. Rick played in the U.S. Junior Amateur Tournament at Los Angeles Country Club in 1954, and that same year, he won his sectional qualifier and played in the ninth annual William Randolph Hearst National Junior Golf Championship at Mount Pleasant Golf Course in Baltimore. As first man on the Fresno State golf team, Rick helped the squad qualify for the NCAA division 1 finals at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs in 1957, and later that year he won the Fresno City Championship.

Rick earned his mechanical engineering degree from Fresno State in 1960. He considered turning pro as a golfer, but ultimately decided instead to attend Stanford University's School of Business and earn his MBA.

Rick met his first wife, Helen Bingham, during his time at Stanford, and they were married in June of 1962. They settled in the Oakland hills where their children Kristen and David were born. While living in Oakland, Rick started what would become a long career in the materials handling business, first working for Hamerslag Equipment Company in Burlingame, and later starting his own company, Storage Concepts, which designed and installed warehouse systems for companies large and small across the bay area.

Rick moved to Foster City in 1974, fell in love with birding, and became heavily involved with the Sequoia Audubon Society and particularly with Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) in Marin County. He served on the board for a number of years in various roles including treasurer and president. During these years, ACR was able to greatly expand their protected habitat acreage as well as establish youth educational programs and docent programs for visitors to the ranch.

When Rick decided to retire to Sonora in 2004, he joined the Central Sierra Audubon Society and served in a variety of positions on that board as well. He also became deeply involved with both the Tuolumne County and City Historical Societies and dedicated a good deal of his time, passion, skill, and experience to helping improve the Tuolumne County Museum's inventory and warehouse systems; Rick was presented with the Historical Society’s Wheel Horse Award for his extraordinary service.

A few years after arriving in Sonora, Rick became interested in genealogy and joined the Tuolumne County genealogical society. There he was introduced to fellow member Janice Jorn. She was also a member of the Audubon Society, and the two of them began to spend a good deal of time together. They were married November 11, 2011 in Sonora Hills.

Rick and Jan moved into a home near Phoenix Lake and enjoyed life together including such activities as birding, enjoying Yosemite, playing bridge, watching basketball and baseball, participating in monthly trips with the Dragin’ Wagons RV Club, traveling abroad, attending Columbia College jazz events and basketball games, and sharing wonderful and interesting food with the AAUW Gourmet Club.

Rick will be sorely missed by his wife, his family and friends, and the many communities he served. There will be a celebration of Rick’s life on Sunday, October 22 at the Mountain Springs Golf Club in Sonora from 3 to 5pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Rick’s name to the local Audubon Society or Audubon Canyon Ranch (4900 Shoreline Hwy One, Stinson Beach, CA, 94970) or the Tuolumne County Historical Society.