The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 2
Aug 2002

Obituary: John P. Baker

Wes Boomgaarden of Ohio State University and Duane Watson passed on the following 3-part obituary to colleagues on the PADG list July 18.

The New York Times, national edition, page C17, July 16, 2002 published this too-brief obituary for John P. Baker: "John Philip Baker, 69, of Lake Delaware, Delhi, New York and formerly of New York City, passed away Friday, July 12 from ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Services will be at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, July 21 at Saint James Episcopal Church, Lake Delaware."

We offer the following addendum, which is also a too-brief tribute:

John, or Phil, as he was known by many, was a leader in the development and management of programs for the preservation of library materials. The son of Henry O. and Agnes (White) Baker, he was born Jan. 23, 1933, in Belmont, Mass., and received a bachelor of arts degree from Boston University in 1955, an MLS from Columbia University in 1965, and an MA from New York University in 1984.

In 1972, John became Chief of the Conservation Division of the Research Libraries, New York Public Library, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1994. At NYPL he guided preservation and conservation efforts in one of the nation's largest and foremost programs. John was widely published on the topic of preservation administration in libraries and archives. He was admired for his mentoring of many interns in preservation administration, including many Mellon Interns, who in turn have become leaders in this field. In addition to his work at NYPL, he served proudly with the committees of METRO, the New York Library Association, and the American Library Association‚ Preservation of Library Materials Section (PLMS), where he was an elder statesman to the many enthusiastic young librarians involved in the cause of preservation. John became ill not long after his retirement, and he lost his struggle with ALS last week.

The Oneonta (NY) Daily Star's obituary for Phil included the following: "A member of St. James Episcopal Church in Lake Delaware, Phil was vice chairman of the Parish Council, chairman of the recent Search Committee and church archivist. He was also vice president and member of the Board of Trustees of the Bovina Public Library, a longtime member of the American Library Association, Beta Phi Mu fraternity, and Archons of Colophon.  Surviving are his friend and companion, John F. Loseth of Lake Delaware; a sister, Cleverly Weitemeyer of East Greenwich, R.I.; a brother, Henry Baker of California; and several nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews."

Services were held at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at St. James Episcopal Church in Lake Delaware, where a Requiem Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Jason Catania, assisted by the Rev. Ray L. Donahue, and burial followed in the Lake Delaware Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in Phil's name to the St. James Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, Lake Delaware.

Wes Boomgaarden
Duane Watson

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