Date of this Version
Journal of Mammalogy (2018) 99(4): 983-1,012. doi: 10.1093/jmammal/gyy072. Published online July 20, 2018.
On 30 March 2018, the science of mammalogy and the American Society of Mammalogists lost one of the most influential figures of the last half-century. Robert James Baker died quietly at his home in Lubbock, Texas (Fig. 1). He was born on 8 April 1942 to James Simeon Baker and Laura Cooper in Warren, Arkansas. His father was killed during World War II and his mother remarried, resulting in his growing up with six half-siblings. According to Robert’s autobiography in Going afield (330—number refers to specific publication in “Bibliography”), he spent a good deal of his youth with his grandparents on a 100-acre farm in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of southeastern Arkansas. He identified his maternal grandmother, “Grandma Rosie,” as his best friend and his greatest influence during these years. His marriage to Jean Joyner on 19 August 1961 ended in divorce in 1975, but the marriage resulted in a daughter, April Baker-Padilla, and two grandchildren, Jason Baker and Faith Padilla. Robert was married to his wife of 39 years, Laura Kyle (M.D.), on 28 May 1978 in Lubbock. Their son, Robert Kyle Baker, preceded his father in death, which was a tragedy from which neither Robert nor Laura ever completely recovered.