Robert “Bob” Baker, who led global standards organizations to improve the quality of the air we breathe, died on January 10, 2016 in Ruskin, FL. He was 77.
Bob was a serial entrepreneur and inventor who traveled widely for his work and for standards development activities. On the threshold of his eighth decade, Bob travelled to Southeast Asia with a new investor. Upon arrival, Bob suggested they visit a restaurant featuring local cuisine. The investor was surprised to discover that the main protein source featured on the menu at the restaurant was insects; he proposed that they stay and make this their first meal in Asia. To his surprise, Bob agreed. Bob’s sense of adventure struck his new business partner; this septuagenarian was willing to embrace new experiences, at almost any cost. For Bob, this was typical, whatever the challenge, he toughed it out.
Throughout his life, Bob took risks and blazed his own path. At various points in his professional career, he worked in the automotive, petroleum, healthcare, HVAC and indoor air quality industries. Bob’s contributions to standards for air quality are followed by public health organizations around the world; he literally helped to write the book on indoor air quality. Bob also led the charge in championing the cause of addressing lifecycle management for air systems. Bob aggressively lobbied and ultimately succeeded in persuading ASHRAE and other engineering standards organization to provide guidelines for air system maintenance and operations; he chaired the group that created the global benchmark, ASHRAE/ACCA/ANSI Standard 180. The intent of Standard 180 is to establish consistent practices for inspection and maintenance of air systems, to increase energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality. This standard represented a new set of goals for Bob, not only did he strive to create a standard which would improve indoor air quality; with the creation of this code, he hoped to create a set of operational standards which would reduce energy usage so that we can have an environment which is comfortable, cost effective and ecologically sustainable.
Bob’s openness and patience with learning about and working with different people and cultures and their values is an indication of his generosity of spirit. His competitors as well as colleagues describe him as a reflective person who was not quick to judge. Bob had a long track record of giving back to his community; in addition to his contributions to professional associations, he was active in his church, and the family’s activities in music and animal advocacy. Perhaps most importantly, Bob enjoyed his life. He gave joy to others through his own gift of being joyful.
Bob is survived by his best friend and wife of 25 years, Barbara, his four children, Rusti Baker, R. Christopher Baker, Caroline Baker and Armand Baker. He also leaves two grandchildren, Amber Kasperitis, and Gavin Ramm as well as a brother, Chuck Baker of Tulsa, OK
A memorial service celebrating Bob’s love of life will be held at 2p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 5309 N U.S. Hwy 41, Apollo Beach, FL 33572.