ForeverMissed
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.

Star Bar Players

In 1973, Les and a group of friends were rehearsing "The Crucible" in the parish hall at the local church.  When the church objected to some of the language and asked them to alter the script, the friends responded by establishing the Star Bar Players out of little more than their determination to do so.  They made their debut with a summer of Shakespeare in the Park (they were meant to be evening shows but they did not have lighting- so, undeterred, they did afternoon productions instead). Over the years they grew into and out of several venues, all the while establishing themselves as a cultural icon striving to bring theatre of real substance to the community.

Cheyenne Mountain

In 1977 Les and Pam divorced and he took on sole guardianship of daughter Julia.  While continuing to perform and direct in the community, he taught Theatre Arts at Cheyenne Mountain High School until 1983. Many of his students from those days have become significant forces in the performing arts themselves. It was at Cheyenne Mountain where Les encountered the entity known as Gene, the four-foot tall cardboard turkey who made himself known as the Drama Department’s diety-in-residence and was referred to in reverential tones as the Ruler of the Universe.

Gene

Need I say more?

The Pacific Northwest

Concluding his time at Cheyenne, Les and Julia (and yes, Gene) moved to Coeur d'Alene Idaho, where he married Kathy Margraff (nee Howells).  While in the Northwest, Les taught Theatre Arts at North Idaho College and completed a Master's Degree in Theatre while working at Western Washington University.  He and Kathy parted ways as he heeded the call of the stage and went on to Boston University for a Master of Fine Arts degree.  

Boston

With the 1989 production of Ourselves Alone, Les was the first graduate student at Boston University asked to direct on the mainstage. 

Illinois

After Boston was Chicago, which for a time made for a great deal of fun deciding which accent to use on any given day!  He was involved with the Chicago Dramatists before coming to teach at St Mary's College of Notre Dame.  This is where he befriended Sue Lauther who, several years later, would become his Sweetie and companion while traveling the world and life itself.  Also in Indiana he taught at Elgin Academy.

St Mark's Academy

In 1998 he returned to Massachusetts and took the helm of the Theatre department in St. Mark's Academy in Southborough MA. In June of 2015 he retired after a 17-year tenure, the longest in the school's history for a theatre arts teacher.  



World Traveler

During his time at St Marks, Les took sabbatical to travel the world with Sue with little more than what their backpacks could hold.  They chose a "couch surfing" method for doing so, which afforded them the opportunity to experience places through locals' eyes rather than a tour guide. Fortunately they swiftly became dedicated bloggers, and we can enjoy their adventures vicariously!  http://slautheronthemove.blogspot.com/

Most recent years

Upon retiring from St. Marks, Les and his longtime Sweetie Sue moved to Colorado Springs, where he helped her with dance productions, joined a tennis league, cooked impromptu meals for visiting students, set about refurbishing the house, and embarked on a deep read of all Shakespeare had written. The sudden nature of his final repose has taken us all by surprise. May we find solace, comfort, and warmth in the connections here among those who hold him dear.