ForeverMissed
Bring Your Stories (and Pictures, Songs) to the Stories Section!  As in any life, there are many many chapters- not all of them seen by each person whose lives are touched.  In the "life" section are some touchstones for those who knew him to "riff" on, as it were- though from one person's memory.  It is our great hope to bring a collaborative spirit to this remembrance, so let's fill the "stories" section to the rafters!
Les's love of the theatre expressed quite especially in his role as teacher.  His love for his students was unrivaled, and they have reciprocated his affections through "The Mutual Admiration Society" across the decades.  Students still remember him fondly for many reasons, which I'm sure they will share.  Among them are likely to be his fondness for flamingoes, a certain turkey named Gene, and the extra-credit points for celebrating Groucho Marx's birthday by donning the famous nose glasses during school hours.
This site will be accessible in perpetuity - so come around the sacred fire of remembrance and let the regaling begin!  Oh and for those wondering, yes the name Baird is derived from MacA'Bhaird, translating roughly as "of the Bard".  Ain't that a kick?
Posted by Payton Rylee on June 16, 2021
I did not like high school very much overall, but Mr. Baird always made my day. He took an interest in me and my success as well as happiness and I appreciated that so much. I took acting 1 and 2 with him and I still think about those classes sometimes, after nearly 10 years. He taught me a lot about how it feels to walk in another person's shoes and how to appreciate seemingly odd art forms like Einstein on the Beach (which really seems just random and weird). He was not afraid to push people out of their comfort zones. He was such a caring man. I still think about the quote he had on his board "Generality is the enemy of all art." He taught me how to make a fool of myself. When he retired from SM, he gave me, along with a few other students, a replicate moo mug (which he always had on his desk). Mr. Baird will live on with all of us in the silliness and fun he taught us to implement into every day life.
Posted by KELLY WALTERS on June 15, 2021
Les, I have never met anyone so kind, so enthused with life and theatre and life AS theatre. We read a play together and traded life tales; you quoted masked, clown-nosed Shakespeare for my birthday and we performed another masked commedia tribute together in another driveway, laughing at our shared absurdity. And I had dreams..... dreams of many more stories, dinners, wines, perhaps a play together, perhaps a tennis ball or two. I looked so forward to more time together, but your full commitment to a life lived joyfully will always shine on in my heart.
Posted by Wendy McPhee on June 15, 2021
Les was part of the wonderful theater group I belonged to at Colorado College. I have never forgotten his gentle and fun ways, and I find it hard to believe that he is gone. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Whitney Herndon on June 11, 2021
Les will always hold a special place in my heart. He and sue made me feel welcome here in CO when I first moved here…into their upstairs apartment. I never thought that I’d make lifelong friends with the sweetest most caring couple that lived downstairs. Forever remembered.
Posted by Saru Wade on June 11, 2021
Mr. Baird was my drama teacher at Elgin Academy many years ago. He was an incredible teacher who cared for his students beyond the classroom. He helped me build my confidence and find my voice during the hard teenage years. He cast me in Midsummer Night’s Dream, an epic production he had been working on for years, and it was a highlight of high school for me. Rest In Peace Mr. Baird.
Posted by Jenay Johnson on June 10, 2021
There’s so much I could say about Les. He and Sue totally changed my life. Les always reminded me to take big risk and live life to the fullest!
Posted by Kevin Tierney on June 10, 2021
Mr. Baird, you legend. Thank you for making space for me, for encouraging me, for challenging me. It was an honor to be your student. I will continue to remember you fondly and attempt to share your spirit with my own students.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Payton Rylee on June 16, 2021
I did not like high school very much overall, but Mr. Baird always made my day. He took an interest in me and my success as well as happiness and I appreciated that so much. I took acting 1 and 2 with him and I still think about those classes sometimes, after nearly 10 years. He taught me a lot about how it feels to walk in another person's shoes and how to appreciate seemingly odd art forms like Einstein on the Beach (which really seems just random and weird). He was not afraid to push people out of their comfort zones. He was such a caring man. I still think about the quote he had on his board "Generality is the enemy of all art." He taught me how to make a fool of myself. When he retired from SM, he gave me, along with a few other students, a replicate moo mug (which he always had on his desk). Mr. Baird will live on with all of us in the silliness and fun he taught us to implement into every day life.
Posted by KELLY WALTERS on June 15, 2021
Les, I have never met anyone so kind, so enthused with life and theatre and life AS theatre. We read a play together and traded life tales; you quoted masked, clown-nosed Shakespeare for my birthday and we performed another masked commedia tribute together in another driveway, laughing at our shared absurdity. And I had dreams..... dreams of many more stories, dinners, wines, perhaps a play together, perhaps a tennis ball or two. I looked so forward to more time together, but your full commitment to a life lived joyfully will always shine on in my heart.
Posted by Wendy McPhee on June 15, 2021
Les was part of the wonderful theater group I belonged to at Colorado College. I have never forgotten his gentle and fun ways, and I find it hard to believe that he is gone. May he rest in peace.
his Life

Youth

Frederic Leslie (Les) Baird was born in Pittsburgh PA October 22, 1946.
He moved with his father Julius and stepmother Barbara to Colorado Springs in1954, where his family grew to include sisters Ann and Kathy.  
Les was active in the theatre from a very young age, beginning with the title role in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

High School

Les attended Fountain Valley School, followed by Palmer High School (graduated 1964), where his love of the theatre deepened. This passion accompanied him throughout his life, expressing onstage, backstage, and in the director's chair across many stages, campuses, and states. 



College and Fatherhood

From Palmer he went on to attend Colorado College, where he majored in Theatre and Art, graduating in 1969. 

In 1967 he married Pamela Stephenson and in 1968 became father to Julia Baird (and yes, it's true, during this phase of young parenthood he became the first Ronald McDonald in Colorado- and he would delight the neighborhood children by returning home from gigs in full regalia... see photo gallery). 

While a great lover of clownery, spoofing, puns, and broad physical comedy, Les was steeped in more "serious" theatre as well - as is illustrated in the next chapter.
Recent stories

Tremendous advisor, director, and person

Shared by David Aron on June 16, 2021
I was lucky to be Mr. Baird's student and advisee at Elgin Academy in the late 90s. He cast me as Dracula in a very quirky musical called "Dracula Spectacula" and it was one of the most challenging and exciting experiences of my entire school career. He could be goofy, eccentric, and entertaining, but he was also extremely demanding. He pushed us all to do our best work and was not afraid to express his disappointment when we hadn't learned our lines or weren't focused. At the same time, when he delivered praise it was sincere, specific, and made you feel like you were the best actor on the planet. He loved Shakespeare, especially the comedies, and took us downtown every year to see a play at the Shakespeare Rep as well as the Neo Futurists improvisation group. These were some of my very best high school memories. 

He hated snobbery and arrogance, and he insisted that everyone involved in his plays and musicals get experience both on stage and behind the scenes. He told incredible stories, cared about us as individuals, and was an incredible mentor. He loved Seinfeld as much as I did, and every Friday in advisory we would discuss and retell jokes from the previous night's episode. When the show ended, he bought us all a box of junior mints, and I kept mine for months as a souvenir. He inspired so many students to be more confident, more diligent, and more true to ourselves. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been one of them. Sending love and comfort to his family and close friends at this difficult time. 

A true gem

Shared by Renee Anderson on June 13, 2021
I believe I had the pleasure of learning from Mr. Baird every year at St. Mark’s - from drama classes, to plays and one acts. I came to St. Mark’s with both a theater and sports background, and was grateful to be able to continue both. Mr. Baird’s classes/activities were always a refreshing change of pace from the rest of our schedule, and his personality was unmatched. He was passionate about sharing his craft, especially with those who were new to theater. I remember some of the exercises we did in class to get into character, the elaborate (and fun!) set we had for Midsummer Night’s Dream and how proud he was of the One Acts. I’m so very sorry for his loss, but he lives on in the lessons he taught and lives he touched 

A skeleton walked into a bar...

Shared by MAUREEN HARRISON on June 12, 2021
We had the privilege of traveling with Sue and Les in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico during their around-the-world venture.  When we could tear Les away from fine-tuning his fantasy baseball teams, Les would attempt to share his favorite joke with shop keepers or waiters or whomever was around, improving his Spanish translation every time.  Sure enough, before our time was through, Les had mastered his delivery and confidently relayed (in Spanish), "A skeleton walked into a bar and ordered a beer and a mop...." Thanks, Les, for your humor and your ability to help everyone around you to relax and enjoy life.  - Maureen and Jenn