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?  
In lieu of flowers, gifts in Les's name may be offered to the Theatre Department at St. Mark's Academy.  
25 Marlboro Road
Southborough, MA 01772
Posted by Aggie Belt on May 16, 2022
For years… Les and I were parallel playing…. in the lower level of the Taft art building. Joy, playful instigation and encouraging innovation …exuded from the space Les Baird inhabited. In overt and subtle ways, I always felt welcome, accepted and inspired to stretch out of my comfort zone with Les. In a “regular day-to-day” sort of way, I cherish the ‘overall scene’ of small things that are hard to capture in words but I know them in my fabric. (As well as the eclectic collage of playful things he had everywhere.) This is what I carry forward in honor of Les. His love, honesty, and sincerity in reaching across invisible lines to connect and improve existence. The domino of his spirit tumble onward with all our love.
Posted by Susan Lauther on May 15, 2022
https://events.locallive.tv/events/79468
Is the live stream site to see the memorial. 
https://vimeo.com/710467681/0270c039b7
Is the edited view without the photos/music/dancing at the beginning.
Thanks to all who came and shared memories and energy about Les. My remarks are in the "Stories" section of this web site.
Posted by Amanda Albion on May 14, 2022
I'm posting here what I said today at Mr. Baird's celebration at St. Mark's School. It was so wonderful to see and hear similar sentiments from fellow St. Markers and other friends and family of Les. Thank you Sue.

*****

Mr. Baird was one of the most important people in my journey as a youth trying to become an adult. He was an incredible teacher and mentor that made me feel seen every day. After my years at St. Mark’s, when asked to describe Les, I would say “well, I went to a boarding school, so he was kind of like my dad away from my dad”. He inspired me. He encouraged my curiosity. He praised my successes and held me accountable when I tried to take shortcuts. But Les was also the kooky older uncle who didn’t have a self-conscious bone in his body and would give you a forever nickname within a day of knowing you.

I always appreciated the connection that Les maintained with the “real world” while the rest of us seemed to be in the St. Mark’s bubble. Though he was an important figure here for 17 years, St. Mark’s never really seemed to “contain” Les. And while the rest of us were in that bubble, Les brought the real world back for us and put it on stage and that made all the difference. He brought us The Laramie Project to show us what happens when no one speaks up in the face of prejudice. He gave us his own rewrite of Trojan Women because we weren’t talking enough about the war in Iraq. He brought us Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind to remind us that we are all flawed but can always laugh at ourselves. And my sixth form year he brought us Our Town, I think because having a bunch of students from all over the country, attempt a true New Hampshire accent, is possibly the most amusing thing a theater director can do. Thanks for that, Les.

Mr. Baird’s role here as faculty advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance was essential at a school that, at the time, had leadership that struggled to create space for their LGBTQIA+ students. In fact, his classroom was a safe haven for ANY students who needed a space to express themselves without judgment. Les was an advocate for ALL. At institutions like this one, we have a responsibility to look back and reflect on how we could have done better. Les, on the other hand, always seemed to have his finger on that pulse. He knew what work needed to be done then and there, and he was doing it every day. 

I will always be thankful for the time that Les took away from his days just to check in with me. The hours we spent talking about life during my independent study project. The art he shared with me that completely shifted my world view, time and time again. I can still see him sitting in his basement classroom that no longer exists, pacing around excitedly among the shelves upon shelves of plays, VHS tapes, and pictures of him and Sue from all around the world. 

I’m going to paraphrase from the play Love Letters, which Les produced at St. Mark’s in 2006. “Most of the things I did in life I did with [him] partly in mind. And if I said or did an inauthentic thing, I could almost hear [him] groaning over my shoulder. But now [he’s] gone I really don’t know how I’ll get along without [him]”. 

So with Les over our shoulders, let’s live authentically, let’s question everything, and let’s laugh often on this gypsy ride.
Posted by Jessica Craig on May 12, 2022
Mr. Baird had a way of recognizing when people were in need. He was the first person to really “see me” at St. Marks, which is what I needed desperately at the time. Perhaps this is too much information, but it’s a way to contextualize how much Mr. Baird changed my life trajectory.

In 2007 I was sent to boarding school to protect me from my parents’ acrimonious divorce. Home wasn’t a safe place to be. At the time, however, all I felt was rejection. I was sad, angry, and desperately alone when first meeting Mr. Baird in drama class. My depression and sense of loss was so deep that I began failing most of my classes.

Mr. Baird saw my pain and offered love. He encouraged me to audition for the winter play, which whet my appetite for theater and gave me purpose, focus, and confidence. Theater became my “thing” and that sense of belonging paved the way for academic success.

Would I have graduated St. Marks without him? No. Would I have gone on to college and gotten my masters in education had Mr. Baird not been part of my life? No. Even though I didn’t go into acting as a career, I still use those theater skills everyday as a Head Teacher in Early Childhood Education.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Baird! My life would be entirely different had you not rescued me. I love you so so so much.
Posted by Charlie Sellers on May 12, 2022
Les and I were neighbors at St. Mark’s. He lived in the lower unit, and I was in the upper of a shared house. Here are some of my memories. First, when “Sweetie Sue” would visit (and he always loved to refer to her as “Sweetie Sue”), they’d have me over for cappuccino and guacamole. This might seem like an unusual culinary combination for some people, but for Les, it was just great. I also had a somewhat raucous party that went late one night, and when I apologized for making a lot of noise, he said, “Not a problem. I just figured that I wasn’t going to sleep so I took out the paper and read in bed.” Also, I after I hit his car in our shared parking lot and made a significant dent, he said, “Well, mistakes happen.” When I went to see him because the furnace (which was in his unit) went out on a zero degree day, he answered the door wearing a wool hat and a jacket, and said, “Oh, the heat isn’t working? I just thought it was cold.” He was one of a kind. I am honored to be counted as one of his many friends. We miss you vecino!
Posted by Will Alisberg on May 9, 2022
The world is a lonelier place without Mr. Baird. Mr. Baird was a dorm parent, drama teacher, and director to me- and his impact and influence on my life has only increased as time has gone on. No one had more energy, passion, and sincerity than Mr. Baird. He was a fearless advocate for the causes he held dear- and showed the courage to be as vocal about what was right no matter how popular or unpopular it was at the time. I still find myself referencing his lessons from the stage- particularly one of his favorite lines "The opposite of Love isn't Hate... it's Indifference". I never expected the man who taught a class I only took to fill a diploma requirement I'd originally lamented having to take to end up having one of the most powerful impacts in my entire education. I feel so lucky to have known Mr. Baird- and look forward to celebrating his life and legacy with his family and the St. Mark's community.

Thank you for everything Mr. Baird.
Posted by Sally King McBride on May 4, 2022
Thank you, Mr. Baird, for being such a patient and passionate teacher, for cultivating such a sense of community and welcome, and for your artistic rigor and vision. I'll always be so grateful to you.
Posted by Ryan Flynn on April 22, 2022
Grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the impact Mr. Baird had on me 17/18 years ago now at St. Mark's - he took a chance on a shy kid working on the stage crew and gave me the courage to go out for the winter play, one acts, improv, etc. I wasn't great, but it didn't matter. I use the skills he taught, and the courage/confidence he nurtured, every single day in my life and career with public speaking, presentation, and communication. My story is one of many, and I hope he knew the impact he had on all of us.
Posted by Lucy McAllister on April 20, 2022
Mr. Baird, You were an absolutely inspirational teacher. Your classroom was an incredibly joyful and unique space, I learned so much from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As many have said, it was an honor to be your student.
Posted by Jon Calos on April 5, 2022
Always a joy to spend time with, and a generous host, Les was a wonderful person and model human. May we all learn from Les and be a little more like him, especially his off-the-wall sense of humor.
Posted by Alex Fulling on March 29, 2022
I know for certain that Mr. Baird was my faculty dorm monitor in Thieriot my junior year (2013), but upon reflection, I think we might've overlapped in 4 separate dorms for all 4 years. I fondly remember him roaming the hallways throughout study hall and asking what we were working on that evening, what the next day had in store for us, etc. "Brush your fangs!" he would sing up and down the hallway over a rotating melody each night at 10PM.

We talked at length about Russian arts, which led to years of conversations about Eurasia, travel, life overseas, etc. He even solicited my tour guide services to help craft the itinerary for his sabbatical trip to Moscow and subsequent journey on the trans-siberian in 2011(?). Although I only ever spent time in one of his classrooms (film critique), I considered him a close friend and confidant after bonding during many-a-late night patrolling the dorms. You were a light for us at St. Mark's, Mr. Baird, and you will be missed sorely by all. Rest easy
Posted by Alice Stevens on March 29, 2022
Mr. Baird was an amazing teacher and person, and I am so lucky that I got to know him while I was a student at St. Mark's. I will always remember his open and supportive nature, his great sense of humor, and how much he deeply cared for all the people around him. Mr. Baird was always a kindred spirit to the weirdos of St. Mark's and helped us feel like we belonged. He was the faculty mentor to the GSA when I was a student first figuring out my sexuality, and I will always be thankful for his support, friendship, and fun-loving nature. Sending lots of love!! <3
Posted by Heidi Makoutz on January 1, 2022
My heart is filled and aches at the same time as I read and learn so much about this fun and vibrant soul, whom I only knew through my time at Emma Willard on faculty with Sue. What a light that who is missed in this world! May we all live more clear, playful, loving lives in remembering Les. Much love to Sue and all whose lives he touched, H Dwyer
Posted by Susan Lauther on November 8, 2021
We had a wonderful birthday party for Les. Here is a video of the scene, the songs and the stories:  https://youtu.be/wPN2IMjM4Ns
Posted by Sarah McCann on October 22, 2021
Missing you so much today, birthday twin! Thank you for always celebrating everything.
Posted by Laura Keating on October 3, 2021
I met Les and Sue while we were all WWOOFing in France in 2011. Their sense of adventure and love of life was inspiring and brings back fond memories for me. I remember thinking, I hope I am like them when I am their age! I can tell from the posts on this website that many others likely feel the same way. Even after we parted ways, Les continued to check in on me occasionally, an extraordinarily thoughtful person. I am so grateful that I had a chance to meet him and am saddened by his passing. Thinking of him and all of his loved ones.
Posted by Susan Lauther on September 26, 2021
Les could do anything. He could even teach stage combat IN HIS SLEEP!  https://youtu.be/8Z1-EWXx_yk 
Posted by Alma Llama mama on September 14, 2021
Les,
You are so loved. You and the world you created were some of the best of SM for me, and made the worst of SM more bearable. Thank you for caring so deeply. There is no one from school years who influenced me as you did, or who has stayed with me like you have. With so much love, I say see you on the other side my friend.
Alma (Sarah)
Posted by Marion Donovan on September 14, 2021
Les was the consummate inspirational, creative, cheerful colleague at St. Mark's School over many years, and personally supported me and my advisees through diverse stressful as well as triumphant events, lifting us up but holding us accountable when needed. We discovered early on that we both had taught at Elgin Academy in Illinois many years ago, but not at the same time. Thank-you, sir!
Posted by Samuel Neagley on September 12, 2021
Mr. Baird was one of the most influential mentors I have ever known. He was a passionate and informed man who managed to create both wildly exciting and profoundly educational experiences at St. Mark's. He was my advisor, my teacher, and my friend. Beyond his extraordinary commitment to the arts, he was also deeply devoted to LGBTQ advocacy and worked hard to create a safe space for young people from all walks of life at St. Mark's. He was a man who saw the bigger picture and pushed us to fight for a more inclusive world. Had I not met Mr. Baird in these formative years, I likely would not have made storytelling and theater my life's work. My heart goes out to everyone grieving for this wonderful man. Rest in peace Les, you've done the best a man can do with his years.
Posted by Sarah McCann on September 11, 2021
I just don't believe Les is gone from this world because he is not. His warmth and energy are in so many people. I will always think of Les and celebrate him on our shared birthday and remember how he pointed out our birthday twindom. I've missed you since you left SM, but your vibrancy still echoes here.
Posted by Geoff Cleveland on July 15, 2021
It is nearly impossible to write about Les Baird because it will be impossible to stop, but here goes. From 1978-81 Les Baird was "Mr. Baird", my teacher in drama, stagecraft, public speaking etc. and my mentor as the leader of a weird little high school clique known as The Drama Dept. Considering the average age of most of his students then and throughout Mr. Baird's career, combined with his uniquely enthusiastic care for his friends...er, pupils, it can be said without hyperbole that he saved lives, possibly mine. Those three years involved more than a book's worth of "work" and fun which I will share to a small extent in the 'stories' section, along with more recent episodes. I wound up being a performer in mostly instrumental music but the "Les-sons" of Mr. Baird have lasted my whole life, both offstage and onstage. As for the latter, Les attended the two most recent 'clutch cargo' shows I led and responded with his characteristic positively-affirming enthusiasm.
Posted by Karen Kohlhaas on July 8, 2021
Les is responsible for most of the things I've ended up doing with my life. My family moved to Colorado Springs from Los Angeles and I was so unhappy about leaving my friends that I planned to take extra classes to graduate early and go back to California. But then I found the drama department at Cheyenne, and Les. I stayed. Because of his teaching and passion for theater, and the file cabinet stuffed full of new plays he kept in the green room, I changed my plan from studying music in college to studying theater. Because of him, I knew to make sure I took a seminar with David Mamet, his favorite playwright, when I got to NYU, which eventually led to becoming part of the Atlantic Theater Company, still going 35+ years later. I teach through Atlantic and on my own, and am currently living in Mississippi to finish a documentary on Tennessee Williams. All of this stems from the intense respect for theater and playwrights instilled by Baird. I have no idea what I would be doing right now had I not met him. Thank you, thank you. I also will always remember the privilege of being in his advanced acting class, which along with the great classes meant trips to see Germinal Stage Denver, complete with giant deli sandwiches and Haagen Dazs ice cream.
Posted by Leigh Pomeroy on July 5, 2021
Les was an inspiration to me at Colorado College. He was our #1 comedic actor. #2 was his classmate David Sullivan, and when they needed a 3rd one, I came off the bench. It was such an honor to be in any theatrical presentation with him, to observe and learn from the quality of his craft. We finally reconnected after about a 50 year hiatus, and I was still in awe of him.
Posted by Tom Falgien on June 21, 2021
It was a time when Gene came to rule the universe from the green room at Cheyenne Mountain High School and the Bionic Child roamed the auditorium during rehearsals. There was a magical man there who bestowed gifts on insecure, clueless, hormonal, self-centered, sometimes adrift, adolescents. He gave us gifts of Belief, Confidence, Trust, and Responsibility. Some of these attributes became part of us as we lived on, but they indeed began as gifts from Les Baird. 
We learned from Les to find our feelings, perhaps tell ourselves the truth about them, and attempt to communicate these feelings to others; he called it acting. I believe it was therapy. We heard similar fears and feelings from fellow students and discovering these commonalities was revelation.
Being part of a play directed by Les provided a connection and community that forced growth and risks, as well as tolerance and collaboration. Yes, everyone had to perform; Les was not interested in directing robots to perform a soulless, ego driven, mise en scene.  Thank Gene we did not have to work constrained by the politically correct police, that said Les created an inclusive environment before anyone knew what that even meant. Society would be much improved if we all possessed Baird’s ability to include and gather people.
Les would laugh, cry, tease, pun, curse, and challenge—in the span of a minute or two. Hooray for Captain Spaulding. Hey keep up here. Come up with a spontaneous pun, ace your scene, really connect with the audience, recover from a blunder, get a laugh, make props out of something you found in a dumpster, “find” materials, build scenery and you were a star. As a community we learned a common language--Benches were measured by the number people they would hold and the unit of measurement was the number of buns. Place the six bun bench down left……We learned to move “gaboons of gradu” and understand the occasional cautionary remark “sois sage mon enfant” (be wise my child).
His infectious enthusiasm for almost everything attracted people; He welcomed us completely into his life and home. When talking with Les you had his complete interest and felt important; after reading his opening night note you went on to perform knowing you were significant. What a gift.  
I very much regret losing contact with Les and would like to tell him that I am eternally grateful for our magical time together and for his influence in my life.  For all of us who love Les, my condolences. Gene juice for all in his memory.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei
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 Aggie Belt on May 16, 2022
For years… Les and I were parallel playing…. in the lower level of the Taft art building. Joy, playful instigation and encouraging innovation …exuded from the space Les Baird inhabited. In overt and subtle ways, I always felt welcome, accepted and inspired to stretch out of my comfort zone with Les. In a “regular day-to-day” sort of way, I cherish the ‘overall scene’ of small things that are hard to capture in words but I know them in my fabric. (As well as the eclectic collage of playful things he had everywhere.) This is what I carry forward in honor of Les. His love, honesty, and sincerity in reaching across invisible lines to connect and improve existence. The domino of his spirit tumble onward with all our love.
Posted by Susan Lauther on May 15, 2022
https://events.locallive.tv/events/79468
Is the live stream site to see the memorial. 
https://vimeo.com/710467681/0270c039b7
Is the edited view without the photos/music/dancing at the beginning.
Thanks to all who came and shared memories and energy about Les. My remarks are in the "Stories" section of this web site.
Posted by Amanda Albion on May 14, 2022
I'm posting here what I said today at Mr. Baird's celebration at St. Mark's School. It was so wonderful to see and hear similar sentiments from fellow St. Markers and other friends and family of Les. Thank you Sue.

*****

Mr. Baird was one of the most important people in my journey as a youth trying to become an adult. He was an incredible teacher and mentor that made me feel seen every day. After my years at St. Mark’s, when asked to describe Les, I would say “well, I went to a boarding school, so he was kind of like my dad away from my dad”. He inspired me. He encouraged my curiosity. He praised my successes and held me accountable when I tried to take shortcuts. But Les was also the kooky older uncle who didn’t have a self-conscious bone in his body and would give you a forever nickname within a day of knowing you.

I always appreciated the connection that Les maintained with the “real world” while the rest of us seemed to be in the St. Mark’s bubble. Though he was an important figure here for 17 years, St. Mark’s never really seemed to “contain” Les. And while the rest of us were in that bubble, Les brought the real world back for us and put it on stage and that made all the difference. He brought us The Laramie Project to show us what happens when no one speaks up in the face of prejudice. He gave us his own rewrite of Trojan Women because we weren’t talking enough about the war in Iraq. He brought us Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind to remind us that we are all flawed but can always laugh at ourselves. And my sixth form year he brought us Our Town, I think because having a bunch of students from all over the country, attempt a true New Hampshire accent, is possibly the most amusing thing a theater director can do. Thanks for that, Les.

Mr. Baird’s role here as faculty advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance was essential at a school that, at the time, had leadership that struggled to create space for their LGBTQIA+ students. In fact, his classroom was a safe haven for ANY students who needed a space to express themselves without judgment. Les was an advocate for ALL. At institutions like this one, we have a responsibility to look back and reflect on how we could have done better. Les, on the other hand, always seemed to have his finger on that pulse. He knew what work needed to be done then and there, and he was doing it every day. 

I will always be thankful for the time that Les took away from his days just to check in with me. The hours we spent talking about life during my independent study project. The art he shared with me that completely shifted my world view, time and time again. I can still see him sitting in his basement classroom that no longer exists, pacing around excitedly among the shelves upon shelves of plays, VHS tapes, and pictures of him and Sue from all around the world. 

I’m going to paraphrase from the play Love Letters, which Les produced at St. Mark’s in 2006. “Most of the things I did in life I did with [him] partly in mind. And if I said or did an inauthentic thing, I could almost hear [him] groaning over my shoulder. But now [he’s] gone I really don’t know how I’ll get along without [him]”. 

So with Les over our shoulders, let’s live authentically, let’s question everything, and let’s laugh often on this gypsy ride.
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

Program for Les's Memorial.

Shared by Susan Lauther on May 16, 2022
(I couldn't download the photos that went with it.  Can someone take photos of theirs and put it up here?)
a celebration and remembrance
Frederic Leslie “Les” Baird

St. Mark’s School

25 Marlboro Road, Southborough, MA 01772
saturday, may 14, 2022

class of 1945 hall putnam family arts center st. mark’s school
Order of service
WELCOME AND OPENING PRAYER

Reverend Barbara G. Talcott
Head Chaplain

PERFORMANCE: The Blackbird: Traditional Performed by Thomas Kelly, Uilleann Pipes

REMEMBRANCES

Ann Whiteside
Sister

Tennyson B. Hunt ’10
Kenneth D. Wells III, P’13
St. Mark’s Faculty 1985–2018, Scenic Designer
Eulogy for Les Baird from Fantasy for Flute and Bell
Composed and performed by John Whiteside, organist
Christopher T. Kent
St. Mark’s Faculty

Miles T. Borchard ’15
Sue Lauther
Sweetie

CLOSING
Litanies Composed by Jehan Alain Performed by John Whiteside, organist

Reception in Taft Hall following the service.
All guests are welcome and encouraged to share a short story about Les.


Dubious Achievements of Les Baird  (According to himself)
Other dubious achievements accumulated over the years include: knocked Madonna on her butt, ran an 8K race at a nudist camp; a former student dedicated her second book to me; has a complete collection of Topps baseball cards from 1957 to the present; witnessed a cremation on the Ganges River; wrote and directed a play based on the board game “Risk”; attended a Tanzanian wedding; was a professional mime; had close calls with both an eight-foot shark and an angry barracuda; taught in Australia, Jordan and China; spent 20 hours in a Russian jail, played catch with Tom Hanks and John Goodman; ingested a large gelatinous cube of cow’s blood, haggis (sheep’s heart, liver and lungs served in its stomach), chicken feet, fish head soup, mare’s milk vodka, and roasted wedding goat.

“Comfort the Disturbed, Disturb the Comfortable.” October 22, 1946–June 5, 2021


Les Baird 1946 –2021
Les Baird came suddenly into his final repose after experiencing a heart attack. He was a great lover of tennis, baseball, the theatre, and was deeply enriched by his experience “couch surfing” in over 50 countries. He is survived by his longtime sweetie Sue Lauther; daughter Julia “Neelima” Baird; stepmother Barbara Baird; sisters Ann (John) Whiteside and Kathy (Joe) Baird; niece Leah (Scott) Whiteside and their children Calvin and Ruby; and nephew David (Seif ) Whiteside. Les also leaves behind legions of adoring students, in whom he instilled a deep respect for theatrical arts and an abiding affection for his own comic inspiration, Groucho Marx. An interactive online memorial can be found at http://les-baird.forevermissed.com/.

“Come on Gypsies, Let’s Ride!"

Sue's offerings in Les's, Memorial today

Shared by Susan Lauther on May 14, 2022
Some folks wanted to read what I offered at Les's memorial today, so here you go:
Les's Valentine Sonnet to Sue 2002

That Sunday in the fallo of a distant year,
We walked the arboritum, touching hands.
Now it's taken your all to quell my fear
And mine to sooth your shifting sands

When the kid-worn work of my day is done
and rugged snows roar blind and deep,
You, my Sue, are the only one
I'll dream of when I drift to sleep.

Won't you be my mate to delve and play?
This time you be the dad and I'll be the mother.
Sue, I'm here because I could not stay away:
Let's savor our lives with the sense of the other.

So come rest beside me, warm and near;
You are my winter sun, my dear
---

{A file I found that I wrote to Les on his computer:}
Howdy Les!!
Someday you'll find this.... let me know when.... I may have to blow it and tell you, because I want you to read this soon...
Love,
We talked about that a little last night.  We both seem to be struggling with what that whole concept is about.... There is so much about you that creates a deep feeling of gratitude in me.  I love you: your wit, your sensitivity, your creativity, your generosity, your ego, your lack of ego, your patience, your depth, your willingness to risk - to open me into your emotional self, your attentiveness, your appreciation of simple and deep gifts, your way, in that way you are smart, your honesty, your attention to detail and your ability to see the whole picture, your metaphors, your fantasies, [fantasy baseball teams: Mazeroski's and Logan Street Les-bians to name only 2]  your energy, your positive view of the world and its possibilities, your problem-solving in the most "win-win" way, your artwork, your "body intelligence," your forgiveness of yourself, of me and of others,... (I could go on for pages....)
Simply what this says.  I love so many things about you.  I love you Les....
Oh, This morning at the very same time as the planes hit the towers, a sparrow dove into my door and died. 
I sang "Circle Game" and buried it in the pine needles for it and all those we lost today.

---
{A  Birthday Card I Sent to Les on His 65th Birthday:}
Today, watching you frolic in the sea made me love you so deeply.  You are giving me so much in your ways: you absorb what you learn about a place.  You support all the efforts people make, you give your all to make something happen and also celebrate that which moves you.  I loved watching you dive, anticipate, throw yourself, seek, calibrate, celebrate, paddle and kick and come up salty-eyed to do it again [and again and again] because it exemplifies YOU -- your best self: playing, learning, growing, moving, joining with.... I love the way you augment me.  Happy Birthday, Sweetie! -- Love Sue and the rest of the world & Tarka too.

David Sullivan sent this note to me about Les…

Shared by Leigh Pomeroy on July 16, 2021
I shall miss Les. What a wonderful guy! He and I had tons of fun at CC. We were in some art classes together and were constantly making fools of ourselves. Les loved theater so deeply. He got me into acting in some of the plays.
Lynn Morris and I performed as a brother and sister act called Dave & Lynn Seed. Les talked us into doing a second billing to him when did Ronald MacDonald appearances..
Together we three misfits did gigs all over Colorado Springs and Pueblo in 1968/69. We performed at elementary schools, MacDonald's restaurants, and on the back of a flatbed trailer - - - anywhere we could find permission. A local ad agency paid us absurdly handsomely. Lynn was terrific on the banjo while I backed her up on guitar. We sang a boatload of silly kid's songs after Les told ridiculous jokes and did tricks.
Les was the only one of us who could drive, so he had to ferry Lynn and me to all the shows. He was frequently late - - - probably because he hated putting on all that Ronald McD makeup.
Back then it was such a hoot hearing him curse at other drivers on the way to the gigs. Nothing like being yelled at and getting the finger from a raging clown with red hair who thinks you're going too slow.
— David Sullivan, CC '69