A good guy passes away

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Letter to the editor by Bill Ford

By Bill Ford

On Aug. 24, Jim Baker, of Oak Run, passed away leaving a hole in the hearts of his many friends and family. This is not an obituary but a celebration. A few years ago, I wrote about the passing of Jack Everson a close friend of all of us and particularly Jim. There’s another of “The Trio,” but that’s for later.

I came to know Jim when we moved to Oak Run. I didn’t play golf then but started my learning process at the now defunct Executive Course. This is where I met Jim, one of “The Three Putters.” Jim was always easy going and helpful to all who came to know him. Having played and taught tennis for 45 years, golf was new to me, and hard. A good friend of mine, and you’ll recognize his name, “Red” Auerbach played tennis. He wouldn’t play golf because he said, “anyone can hit a ball laying still.” Man was he wrong.

But back to Jim, he always had a smile and would be helpful to anyone who wanted to learn the game of golf or just to shoot the bull, as we say in the Navy. He would say, “if you want to do it, do it,” so, I had a few lessons from him. I used to kid him that he hit the ball the wrong way, because he was left handed. In his obituary it was said his favorite playing partner was his wife Dee. Man, they hit the nail on the head. Many times, when I was up at the course, and would ask him if he wanted to play a round and he’d comment, “no, I’m waiting for my wife.” He married Dee on Jan. 29, 1973.

It seems that the good guys are falling along the wayside and Jim was certainly one of the good guys. Strangely enough, the last time I saw Jim was when Jim and Dee were visiting the same doctor as Arlene and I were in April. Oh yes, I’ve no doubt that Jack and Jim have already played a few rounds up there since Aug. 24. It was heartwarming to see so many of his friends turn out for a memorial to Jim on Aug. 28 as it showed how much he was loved an respected.

I’m taking editorial liberty here but I think you’ll understand. As you will remember I said there were “The Three Putters.” Well, one of those Putters, who would never play a round of golf with me because he was afraid I would beat him is, John Trout. Of course, he will have a different story. Jack, Jim and John were the guys that made Oak Run golfing fun. It seemed that one of the three was there all the time. Golf pros and teachers came and went but “The Three Putters” were always there. I did have the good fortune to see John at Jim’s memorial and I don’t know what’s in the bottles he drinks or what he’s eating but he looked 20 years younger but of course, still ornery as ever.

Jim, you are gone but will never be forgotten, as good guys never can be. Hit’em straight up there you guys, and Jim, give Jack our best.

Bill Ford

Oak Run