Baker, Robert Lee Service Location: Palos Verdes Estates Service Date: November 23, 2012 August 20, 1927 - November 15, 2012, age 85. Dr. Robert L. (Bob) Baker passed away from complications following a long battle with cancer, at home in Palos Verdes Estates, California, with his loving wife of 65 years, Mary Dye Baker, at his side. Bob was an exceptional and generous mentor-to his students, his family, associates and friends. His extensive interests, insight and intelligence and his genuine personal interest in the success of others will be missed by all of us who had the honor to know and love him. His commitment to research for the purpose of improving instructional opportunity for public school students has left a lasting legacy. Born and raised in Salina, Kansas, Bob was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service in the U.S. Army at the end of WWII and with the 5th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He earned his Doctorate of Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), and joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1955. In 1966, he was a founding director of the Southwest Regional Laboratory (SWRL) for educational research, shortly after which he and his family moved to Palos Verdes Estates where became a member of the golf and tennis clubs and a volunteer at the local libraries. In the late 1970s he returned to academia, joining the faculty at the University of Southern California while continuing to consult on projects for SWRL and the Los Angeles Unified School District. He remained active at USC well into his eighties as Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Technology at the The Rossier School of Education. Bob is survived by his wife, Mary, daughter Katherine with husband Henry Caroselli, son Scott with wife Laurie, six grandchildren: Mike Caroselli with wife Devon, Emily (Baker) with husband Meeko Mendez, Dan Caroselli, Aly (Baker) with husband Joey Williams, Annie Baker, and Anna Caroselli with fiancé Ben Leachman, and three great-grandchildren: Adeline and Alana Caroselli, and Tessa Williams. He is pre-deceased by his older brother Kendall, and survived by younger twin siblings Bill Baker of Colorado Springs, CO, and Betsy Peck of Anderson, IN, as well as nieces Sue (Pierce) Giles of Tucson and Sally (Pierce) Von Summer of Washington, D.C. A gathering of family and friends will be held in Palos Verdes Estates on Friday, November 23, 2012, at noon. For further information, please call 310-546-3533. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting your local public schools.

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  1. We will miss you Bobbo – your wonderful stories, your genuine interest and curiosity, your witty humor, your catching smile, and your love and support. Your courage against cancer and positive attitude throughout your fight is an inspiration to us all. May we all make you proud as we build our lives ahead in remembrance of yours. Love, Anna

  2. The world has lost a great human being. I have lost a mentor and a dear friend. Bob took me under his wing when I arrived at USC in 1977 and our collaboration continued to this day. Bob was an ardent supporter of urban public schools throughout his career. In the mid-1980s, with the urging of the superintendent — the late Dr. Harry Handler –, and considerable support from a LAUSD board member Tom Bartman, the LAUSD invested in the design and development of a database that contained longitudinal information on all students enrolled in the District. Through
    memoranda€™s of understanding between USC, UCLA and LAUSD in 1999, 2003 and 2007, Bob guided numerous pilot studies and several iterations of the database over a period of 20 years that culminated in the creation of LAUSD€™s current longitudinal data system. Bob was an early advocate of the use of test scores
    in the evaluation of schools and ardent supporter of school accountability, standards-based instruction and equity for the socioeconomically disadvantaged long before the advent of No Child Left Behind in 2001. I will miss the many hours of discussion between Bob, former LAUSD Superintendent Sidney Thompson and myself on school accountability and LAUSD, and can honestly say that nobody had a greater influence on the redirection of my own career in the last ten years. Mary, Kate and
    Scott, I am sorry for your loss and hope you can take comfort in the fact that the world is a better place because of Bob.

  3. I am not sure if it was the spring semester of 1958 or one of the summer sessions of 1959. But it was at Arizona State College, now ASU in Tempe. Dr. Baker was the professor of Advanced Ed Psych and I was a member of the class. On one occasion he told us, “if a student is causing trouble in your class, stack him in the corner with a stacking swivel until you decide what to do about him.” One day we asked him what his salary was at ASC. He replied, “5000 dollars and 5000 in sunshine.” One time during his lecture, a knock came to the door. He excused himself and went to the door, opening it only enough to talk with the person on the other side, After just a minute or so he came back and resumed the lecture. A little later in the class the same thing happened and the situation was repeated. Then later it took place a third time. He came back to the class and said, “they are doing some research. They do not want me included in it but they are asking me how to do it.” Near the end of the semester he and I were looking out the window towards the Industrial Education building and he said, “you are the sharpest one to ever come out of that place.” I received a B in his class. Dr Baker is a class act. He is a great credit to the Education Profession.
    Gary F. McBride Emeritus Instructor Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, Ariozna

  4. Phoebe Liebig, USC Retired Faculty Association
    It was a great pleasure to work with Bob during his RFA service as Vice-President Elect and President. He designed and conducted a survey of our members to determine their reaction to the RFA’s several programs. Based on the results, he developed a plan for the future of our organization that has been incorporated into the creation of the RFA Strategic Vision 2022 that mirrors USC’s. Even when his illness required him to step down from the presidency, he continued to participate via e-mail and comment on our activities. Even during this past month, he made several suggestions about our marketing efforts. As his successor, I know the RFA could not have achieved what has occurred during the last couple of years
    without his insight, intellect and warm personality. He is sorely missed

  5. Bob was a terrific human being, a supportive colleague, and an insightful scholar. I had the pleasure of working with him for only a few short months as a member of the USC Retired Faculty Association Board of Directors, but in that all too brief period of time he left a lasting impression. His courageous and painful fight against an ultimately fatal disease never changed his cheerful, pleasant demeanor. We will miss you, Bob, as both a friend and a colleague.
    Robert A. Stallings
    Professor Emeritus
    USC Price School of Public Policy

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