Cover photo for Richard Baker's Obituary
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1934 Richard 2017

Richard Baker

October 25, 1934 — December 23, 2017

Richard Thalmann Baker


On Saturday, December 23, 2017 Richard “Dick” Thalmann Baker peacefully passed away with family at his side at in St. George, Utah.  Richard was born in Murray, Utah to Ralph Harris Baker and Ruth Eva Thalmann Baker on October 25, 1934.  Richard spent his childhood in Salt Lake City where he suffered from rheumatic fever.  He was too ill to attend school so his mother taught him his lessons while nursing him back to health.

When Richard was 13 he moved with his family to the Sacramento area.  He graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1952. He went on to meet the love of his life, Frances Dawn Peterson.  They were married and sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple on April 15, 1957.  This was the start of a lifelong love affair. Frances was always Richard’s focus and foundation. They had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

After a stint at Sacramento City College he graduated from what is now California State University at Sacramento. Richard was the consummate negotiator and he pursued a lifelong career in California politics and labor relations.  He spent a decade at the California State Employees Association before co-founding Blanning and Baker Associates, a labor relations consulting firm with offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  He had a rich career that included management of statewide public employee unions, authoring many publications and participating in a variety of statewide political campaigns. He retired at the age of 60 but returned to public service in 2000 when he was appointed by California Governor Davis to the California Public Employment Relations Board.

Richard was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his youth Richard served as a missionary in Great Britain and later had countless church callings to include everything from Sunday school teacher to serving in the Manzanita Ward bishopric, as well as serving a second mission with Frances in Sacramento.  More profoundly Richard demonstrated in his daily life the love and compassion that he learned through the Gospel.

Richard viewed life with childlike curiosity and excitement.  He was well known for his love of travel.  He traveled prolifically with friends and family throughout all fifty states and visited more than one hundred different countries.  Richard always wanted to see what was around the next corner.

Richard is preceded by his wife Frances Dawn Peterson Baker (November 11, 2017) and his older brother Don Robert Baker (April 24, 2009).  He is survived by his children: Steve, Doug, Andy and Camille; his 17 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren; and his younger sister Sue Bryson.

Richard would want to tell us all that he has 2 great grandchildren on the way.  He would express his love for all his family and friends.  Although he loved his life, he had seen the last 60 Christmas’s together with Frances and just couldn’t bear it.  It is difficult to say goodbye to someone you love so much, especially to someone that has always been there with advice, love, understanding, encouragement or just a friendly smile.

A graveside service will be held for Richard on January 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the Tonaquint Cemetery in St. George Utah.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Baker, please visit our flower store.


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