We Lost Keith Baird ’56

I got the word over the weekend…probably about the time you did.  Dr. Keith Baird, Class of 1956, Space pioneer as a flight doc, Wabash legend, Wabash sports fan, has passed away.

“Doc” Baird was a special man in several ways.  Let me give you the Grunge take.

As a fighter pilot, doctors are your worst enemy.  Heck, when your health is perfect, like it always is until something goes really wrong, the only thing a flight surgeon can do is ground you.  Pure and simple.  Keep them happy…at a distance.

Dr. Baird became my “flight surgeon in residence in Indiana” doc.  If I had something I needed to get taken care of while back here, I always went to see Doc Baird.  Typical appointment went something like this – 3 minutes on medical, 7 minutes on Wabash, 20 minutes on flying and space.   Little to no variance.

I didn’t know him when I was here…I got to know him, by legendary reputation, through family.

When I returned to Wabash, Doc was a regular as sporting events.  In fact, last fall, despite some breathing challenges, he often made the trip to away games…solo.  Well, sort of solo…Doc Baird and one of the Porsches.  He was a fixture on the sidelines…always positive, always cheering for our men.  Same for other sports.

He loved aviation – so the bond between us was strong.  He loved Wabash…and counted this good place as a cornerstone of his entire personal and professional lives.  He touched the lives, and the souls, of countless Wabash men.

“Go….Wa….bash..”  If you listen next fall, really listen, when there’s a quiet moment before a football game, you’ll hear that.  I hope you will.  I know I will…I am flat out counting on it…

Doc – keep the pointy end forward and your speed up.

Keith Baird – Some Space Pioneer, Some Flight Surgeon, and Some Little Giant!