Dr. William L. Baker

Dr. William L. Baker

Dr. William L. Baker, a longtime physician and amateur athlete in Monroe, died on Jan. 21 at the age of 81.

Born in Durant, Oklahoma, he remained a proud Okie throughout life. He ran on the track team of Oklahoma Baptist University from 1957 through 1961 and reunited with his teammates whenever possible.

Upon graduation from Baylor University College of Medicine in 1961, he spent four months at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Bermuda, where he learned to love sailing. Then he headed north to Canada for an internship at Montreal General Hospital. During his first week there he met an American nurse from Brooklyn, New York, Carol Griffin. Two years later, on June 27, 1963, they married in Montreal.

Dr. Baker joined the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon, and the young couple relocated to a base in Glasgow, Montana for two years. He developed a fondness for B52s and a lifelong love of flying, a passion he would pursue in retirement flying small prop planes.

Their first son, Ian Douglas, was born during Capt. Baker’s military service, in 1964. After his honorable discharge, the family returned to Montreal, where their second son, David Russell, was born in 1967.

After a brief stay in Greenville, Texas, the family moved to Monroe in 1969 when Dr. Baker joined the Monroe Clinic as an ophthalmologist. He became a pillar of the Green County medical community, using his Oklahoma accent and country charm to put several generations of patients at ease. He also served on the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board under two governors.

An athlete until late in life, he could often be found jogging along Highway 59, even in the hottest weather, and he rarely missed competing in the Cheese Days Chase. A passionate musician, he enjoyed playing the piano and sang in both the Union Presbyterian Church choir and the Bel Canto Singers.

He was a devoted son and husband, loving father and grandfather, a dedicated physician and a trusted friend.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, sons Ian and David, daughters-in-law Kelly Sohn and Claudine Asbagh, granddaughters Natalee and Avery, sister-in-law Beth Griffin, niece Anne Albertine and great-niece Ava.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at the Union Presbyterian Church, Monroe, with Reverend Jesse Larson officiating. Visitation will be at the church on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Union Presbyterian Church or Monroe Clinic Hospice. The Newcomer Funeral Home, Monroe, is assisting the family. Condolences may be shared at www.newcomerfuneralhome.net