Louise Rice Baker (1936-2009)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Louise Rice Baker (1936-2009)

Updated 04/16/2009 – 12:20 am

Another Remsenburg Club Laner of yore has left us, just a month after Peter Marbury, and, purely happenstance, also in Florida.

This was just received from Marty, her hus­band of more than 46 years:

"I am sad to report that on Sunday, April 5th, Lou succumbed to the cancer that attacked her approximately a year ago. She put up a great fight but passed quietly in her sleep at home with her family by her side, Marty, Tom, Cheryl and Mel."

(From their more or less annual Christmas card, "Mel" is believed to be their cat1.)

The illness Marty spoke of that Lou had been fighting for the past year, doesn't adequately speak to her struggle with cancer... she was first diagnosed, and operated on, about 45 years ago, but declined to let it stop her.

More than just a fighter, Lou was one of the most capable women people I've ever known. She simply excelled, whether on the tennis or basketball courts, behind the stick of an air­plane, or in a sailboat.

She came from a great sailing tradition, not surprising with parents like Sis (Frances) and Bob Rice, and her mom's twin Tom Day.

(Sis was always the one to beat in the Great South Bay and Long Island Women's Championships... and the one year, 1955 I think it was, that Sis was unable to compete, 19-year-old Lou took over for the family and won everything.)

Lou was also my sister's and my sailing men­tor, and crew, in SS93, after our father was killed in July '56. Two years later I was one of her crew in MB8, in the last season that West­hampton Yacht Squadron recognized the MBs as a separate class.

Lou was a great, great gal... I'd thought of her often of late, and I'll remember her always.

Services will be Thursday, April 9th at St. Eliz­abeth's Episcopal Church, 901 Clear­mont Street, Sebastian, FL 32958 at 10:00 am.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either St. Elizabeth's, or The Dolphin Research Center, 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019.

  1. Oops! Mel, I've been reliably informed, is a dog.


1. CM said...

Dean, that's a magnificent memory of a world-class human being. Many of us knew Mrs. Baker as the school system's AV specialist and as Cheryl and Tom's mom, and we remember her technical acumen, dry humor, and generous patience. It is that much more graceful to say that Mrs. Baker had the spirit of a great sailor.

To Cheryl, Tom, Marty, and Mel: we know why you loved her so, and we're right there with you. [cm]

2. Martin Baker said...

Dean, By mistake I stumbled across your blog again and it had the new info I had sent to you about Lou.

Thanks for your input about Lou. Of course I knew most of it but I am still learning things about my wife-before-Marty days. Don't know who cm is but it was nice to hear from one of her students. When I read the message to Mel, he was incensed to learn that you think he is a cat. He let me know in no uncertain terms he and his ancestors were guard dogs for the Emperors of China. Forgive the spelling, Had a couple glasses of vino before and with dinner and the damn keys keep running around on me. It is amazing how many people Lou has touched in her life span. The cards and Emails are full of antecdotes of the way she had taught them sailing or played tennis against them, etc. Really moving. Again, thanks for keeping Merry straight and such.

Love from us all,
Marty, Tom, Cheryl and Mel (Shih Tzu Guard dog in residence).

Hi, Marty...

"By mistake," eh? Be careful on the Internet, m'boy! Lotta mysterious things out there!

Sooooooo sorry I hadn't seen you guys since Sis' services at WYS, or talked to Lou since her 70th birthday, but that's one of the things that happens, as we go on.

Never saw a photo of Mel, so please extend my abject apologies to himself.

As for "keeping Merry straight," I don't think that's within the realm of possibility. She is, as my first wife used to say, "bloody minded." I marvel at Bob Murray's perseverence on a weekly basis.

Best to you, Tom, Cheryl and himself with royal antecedents, Mel.

3. Martin Baker said...

OK Dean- Ya got me on that one. This time it was intentional to check into the Blog - (Something we never had in the caves when I was growing up with the dinosaurs.

Just wanted to add a quick update on Lou. The response from people literally about people who had sailed with, played tennis with, etc., etc. etc., has been remarkable. A lot added notes about their times with Lou while we were cruising and such and even I learned new things about her. She was one hell of a gal and will be missed by a lot of folks.

FYI: Tom is leaving for Arizona the end of this week, Cheryl has returned to the Keys to husband and job, and Mel and I are going to be on our own. The support from those kids and the people here and crusing friends we have made has been really incredible. My thanks to all that responded and proved I really lucked-out when I caught that one.


Yes, you did, Marty... how many guys from Arkansas have ever done the deep-water sailing that you have?

Good to hear from you.

4. Martin Baker said...

Dean - FYI a cruising friend E-mailed me the other day and wanted to know if another friend we knew in St. Croix could do an article about Lou for All At Sea. I have given her permission to contact me and we would see what she wants and could do. I want your permission to give your personal E-mail address to her so she can contact you about material you know and can get about Lou's sailing in Long Island before I got into the picture. When I have your address, I will send you a copy of the information she was going to give Meredith but procastinated (don't know where she learned that), and didn't finish it until shortly before her passing. Kids and I think it would be good for more exposure and information to be out there. We are still learning about her.I don't think this is blog info but will rely on your good judgement about that.


Sure, Marty... glad to be a resource. The short-term memory may struggle, but the long-term is filled with vivid memories of Lou.

5. Betsy said...

Came across this blog on a snowy day. I was a Junior High School friend of Lou's in Pennsylvania around the early 1950s. Still think of her as my best friend... though we had lost contact many years ago. She introduced me to sailing and skiing... My regards.

She was an enormous presence in my life as well!

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