Theodore S. Baker (Ted, Dad, “Diddy”) died on Tuesday, Dec. 29, of COVID-19 at Seal Rock Healthcare in Saco. He was born May 2, 1935, in New York City. His early education was primarily through the NYC public schools in a special program for gifted kids.

He graduated at the age of 16, and went on to Columbia University, from which he graduated with a BA degree. He then went on to graduate school at Harvard, and received an MS and PhD in engineering and applied physics (otherwise known as electrical engineering). His first position was assistant professor and lecturer of electrical engineering at Yale, where he eventually became assistant dean of Yale College. He left there in 1971 to become the Dean of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. While there he was instrumental in establishing Ithaca College’s London Center.

It was also during the time in Ithaca that he met his wife, Elizabeth, a widow with two small children. They were married in 1974, and he immediately adopted the children.

He left Ithaca College in 1977 to take a position for three years at University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsion, as Dean of Liberal Studies. In 1980 he moved the family to Kennebunkport, where he held the position of provost at the University of New England in Biddeford.

At that time, UNE was in serious financial trouble, and Ted was a major figure in restructuring the university. He was mainly responsible for the addition of the Department of Allied Health which brought programs in PT, OT and nursing to the university. He also restructured himself out of a job, as it made no financial sense to have both a president and a provost.

He and Liz loved their life in Kennebunkport, so Ted decided to stay put and try alternative careers. He obtained a real estate license, and enjoyed selling real estate, but then was approached by Unity College in Unity, Maine, which offered him an interim position as provost. Just as that interim position ended, Unity found itself in need of an interim president, so Ted stayed on in that capacity.

He was offered the position, but the commute between Kennebunkport and Unity wasn’t doable long term, so the family decided to stay in Kennebunkport. Ted continued to sell real estate for a time and then found himself longing to return to teaching. He had various short-term and interim jobs teaching math in area high schools. He also started a business called Tutor Me teaching young people how to take tests (PSAT, SAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.) He made a huge difference in the lives of many of these students.

He contributed in many ways to the community, serving, at various times, on the SAD 71 School Board, the Maine Opera board of directors, a trustee of Unity College and South Congregational Church (where he was also the treasurer for several years). He was a devoted member of the Kennebunk Portside Rotary for many years.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Liz; two children, Thomas G. Baker (and his wife, Martha Folger); and Ann (Annie) M. Baker (and her husband, Jeremy Baker). He was “Diddy” to four adored grandchildren – Lucy, Jane, Willa and Gus Baker. He is also survived by a sister, Eleanor Cole of Atlanta, and his very beloved yellow lab, Cecil.

Due to COVID, there will be no service at this time. A memorial service will be scheduled in the spring or summer when we can all safely be together.

Memorial donations may be made to: Kennebunk Portside Rotary, c/o Education Programs, PO Box1167, Kennebunkport, ME 04046 or Animal Welfare Society, 46 Holland Road, Kennebunk, ME 04043.