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City Historian Steve Baker Dies


Monrovian Steve Baker, 80, died in Santa Barbara at 3:45 p.m. today as a result of complications from pneumonia. Baker served as City Historian and City Treasurer and is currently on the ballot unopposed for the City Treasurer position. Baker's sister, Susan, of Santa Barbara, reports that "He was comfortable, peaceful, and he died with our arms around him. He is now in the arms of God."

Comment

I met Steve years ago at the little art gallery that was across the street from the Monrovia library on the south side. I had a few pictures hanging in there and we started talking and he asked me where I live. I told him and he proceeded to tell me the history of my property.

Then we began encountering each other at Starbucks. He noticed I was reading the book of Job in the Bible and so he xeroxed off an article Carl Jung wrote on Job. I thought the article said more about Jung than about Job, but it kind of started us meeting and enjoying each other’s company.

During Covid we met on his porch, keeping carefully 6 feet apart. Steve, Kevin Sullivan, and myself. It was a great way to start the day. Later, Steve and I began hiking together on Friday mornings. We’d hike up to a bench in the hills and sit and admire God‘s creation.

When it was cold, after the worst of Covid, we sat - keeping our distance - in his front parlor each weekday morning with a little old, old electric heater with glowing orange coils, and discussed a short passage from the Bible. We went through a good portion of the book of Luke together and were just starting in on John. I really was blessed by his insights, though he often brought in Carl Jung.

I think Steve loved everything old. In our Bible study times he preferred to read out of the King James Version, the old Bible. And often the passage of scripture that we looked at would remind him of a hymn, an old hymn, from an old hymnal. And when he prayed it was with all the old “thee’s” and “thou’s”. Beautiful.

Old prayers, old music, the old faith; old houses, old Monrovia, even old furniture and old household items. I think Steve saw the work of craftsmen in these things and it pained him to think that they might be discarded and that all that work and skill and love that was still in them would be lost.

Steve loved Monrovia. I once asked him how many organizations he belonged to. He had to count by naming them off, and when he was done he admitted that he may have missed a few.

And I miss you, Steve. Someday I'll see you again.

God bless you!

- Brad Haugaard



8 comments:

  1. He was such a lovely, kind man. I always looked forward to seeing him when he would visit Plymouth. I have many books in my classroom library thanks to him and his donating to my class during our book fairs.

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  2. Truly a drdicated community servant. Monrovia was his life.

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to a well-loved individual.

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  4. Steve was Monrovia's greatest citizen thru & thru. He loved Monrovia! Monrovia was his passion! I didn't know him well but yet I knew he cared & did everything with thought & purpose. He was Monrovia's greatest treasure and will be missed for decades to come. Monrovia's history has gone with him. He was irreplaceable. Thanks for the memories Steve! God's speed.

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  5. I lived across the street from Steve on East Lime Avenue in the late 1940s. I didn’t really know him at the time because I am about five years his senior.

    I got to know him during a long visit to “the plunge” museum several years ago. We went over our mutual recollections about Monrovia circa 1940-60.

    He was very gracious to both my wife and me.

    I received the notification of his death from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. I was baptized and years later confirmed at St. Luke’s.

    Wally Roberts
    San Clemente, CA

    [Posted by Brad by request]

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  6. Monrovia has lost a true treasure. If not already thought of, I would like to suggest city flags flown at half staff.

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  7. Steve and I spent many years working together for the Citrus College Foundation. I will miss your friendship and your wisdom Steve until we meet again. You will be missed. RIP

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