In Memory of David Baker
David Baker, 80, died from Small Cell Carcinoma, a virulent form of lung cancer, at his home in Cloverton on August 26, 2023. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he graduated from DeLasalle High School, then began his art education at the Minnesota College of Art and Design. Having been granted a scholarship, he studied art and received a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from Yale University, New Haven, CT. He then taught architecture for 3 years at Ohio State University in Athens, OH.
In 1972, Dave purchased property in Pine County, built his “off grid” home and lived there for 51 years before he died. He was renowned in the community for his ability to use rocks in building his home and in his landscaping. He built a fireplace designed after the colonial fireplace expert Benjamin Thompson. A relationship with Carrie Bahr produced his first child, Koshka, and his marriage to Deborah Hanson in 1977 brought his other 2 children, Leda and Nicholas, into the fold. He and Deborah divorced in 1990.
Dave and Fran Levings, a retired schoolteacher, married in 1996 and she very willingly jumped into his “off-grid” lifestyle.
An artist, through and through, he could be seen often in his studio painting or drawing. Dave’s art has been exhibited in galleries in Minneapolis, Port Wing, Sandstone, Danbury and Duluth. He has won several awards in exhibitions sponsored by the East Central Regional Arts Council. In conjunction with artists Frank Big Bear and Bruce Anderson, he was featured I an exhibit at the Minneapolis Art Institute. A piece of his work is permanently housed in the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. Not only was Dave an exhibiting artist at all of their shows, but he also served on the board of the 210 Gallery (formerly the Old School Art Center) in Sandstone. Commissioned by the North Pine Area Hospital District, Dave created a painting of a 1920s doctor making house calls that currently hangs in the hospital reception room. Dave taught art in the Federal Corrections Institutions, first in Duluth, then in Sandstone, retiring in 2000.
Because it was important to Dave to give back to his community, he served on the New Dosey Town Board for 33 years, first as a Clerk, then as a Supervisor. His longevity on the Board made him the “go-to” guy for any questions going back for several years. Dave was also a member of the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department for many years.
Very few people in our area were as vociferous as Dave when it came to explaining the need for working against climate change. He tried to keep his fossil-fuel footprint as small as possible.
Dave is survived by his wife, Fran; daughters, Koshka Bahr and Leda Baker; son, Nicholas Baker; grandchildren, Eve and Brody; step-grandchildren, Justin, Tanner and Faith. He is also survived by 3 stepchildren, Elizabeth, Will and Chuck.
A quiet, gentle man who loved to read, Dave became a role-model for all of us. Rest in peace, Sweetheart. I’ll see you Innisfree.
At Dave’s request, there will be no service.
Arrangements were entrusted to Swedberg-Taylor Funeral Home.