Barbara Jo Baker

B.Baker pic

It is with the deepest sadness we announce the accidental death of Barbara Jo Baker at her home in Laramie in late March.

Barbara grew up in Chicago. When she was in high school, she placed second in the Illinois State Gymnastic Balance Beam Competition, which was quite an achievement.

She moved to Laramie in the ’70s to attend the University of Wyoming. Afterward, she returned to Chicago to care for her grandparents, where she earned her Masters of Social Work degree from Loyola University. She completed her education to become a licensed clinical social worker. When things settled in Chicago, she returned to Laramie, the home of her heart.

Barbara never married or had children but was adopted by Teresa Nyquist and her children, Trisha and DJ. She was a mother/sister/friend and eventually Grandma Barb, to Donovan, Trisha’s son. She was there for Teresa’s children, to talk to, to get a hug and to celebrate the holidays. Barb gave the best hugs. She will be greatly missed by the family.

She touched many lives through her profession as a social worker including students at UW, staff and patients at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, the cancer center, child protection, the crisis center and Cathedral Home for Children.

She initiated a support group for Vietnam veterans in the 1980s, which had many positive rewards for those involved. She was especially committed to them and remained close friends with many military veterans through the years.

She took a special interest in Interfaith-Good Samaritan, a non-denominational group that assisted families and children. She would bring fresh items from Frank’s garden to them. This was very close to her heart.

She had exceptional emotional wisdom. All who knew Barbara were impressed by her capacity to empathize and offer support for matters of daily life and medical situations, including loss of family and health. She had a great sense of humor, including the theatre of the absurd, which describes so much of daily life.

She had numerous cats through all her years.

Their longevity was legend. She would take in strays and adopt their kittens. At times, it was difficult to know if the cats belonged to Barb or Barb belonged to the cats. She supported the Laramie Animal Welfare Society.

She loved her fresh-ground coffee and newspaper in the morning. She worked out daily, either running or going to the gym. She was very health conscious and into natural products. She would even read the labels on junk food for the best choice. She read, wrote poetry and liked the music of Michael Jackson. She loved the mountains and being outdoors. She hiked, cross-country skied and rode her bike. Barbara was very independent, strong willed and not afraid to get her hands dirty. Her remains have been cremated as she desired. Her real family in life and close friends will scatter her ashes, together with the ashes of her grandfather, Nathan Rosenfield, and those of her beloved cats. She wanted her ashes scattered over the landscape of Wyoming.

There will be a memorial service for her at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home. Personal remembrances can be entered in the guestbook of the obituary section Please send donations in lieu of flowers to Interfaith-Good Samaritan of Laramie or the Laramie Animal Welfare Society.

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Condolences (11)

  • Mundy Aron

    I knew Barb when she came to Department of Family Services. We shared many good conversations together and I was amazed by her spirit! For years, she jogged by my house and would stop to pet and talk to my cats, if they were in the yard! We have lost a kind and loving spirit too soon!

  • Suzanne Luhr

    A fellow cat rescuer, from days of yore to the present day, Barbara was special and will be missed. We're so sorry to lose such a kind, caring soul.

  • Lynn Broughton

    Barb was a friend that I did not hang out with or see very often but when I did run into her she and I would chat and catch up. I met her at Ivinson Hospital where we worked together and she was there for me during my divorce to talk to and vent. Because of that she was always special to me. I was so saddened to hear of her passing. My heart goes out to her Chicago family and her Laramie family the Nyquists who I connected with photographing DJ's wedding. Thank you Barb for your caring and kindness. You will never be forgotten.

  • Dave Ide

    The world definately got darker .. Barb was an incredible lady and one of my best friends .. Just being around her would put a smile on my face .. I miss her deeply but will see her again one day .. God Speed Barb and see you later ..

  • Donnell Turner

    Gone from this world, but not from our hearts. How I miss you!

  • Anamaria Sandoval

    This is a real shock Barb was a wonderful Person she helped me years ago and since nevr a time did she not stop to say hello, visit and ask about the family, she was a very loving, caring sweet person will Berber be forgotten

  • Anonymous

    I met Barb in the mid-1980's when I began working for the Department of Family Services. At that time, UW did not offer a Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree and there were very few MSWs in Laramie. I was so please to find a fellow MSW! I am so sorry to hear of her death. She is missed. ~Nancy Lockwood

  • Wyatt Skaggs

    A more sweet, caring and gentle person did not exist. I will miss your smile and bright soul Barb.

  • Rob Willis

    RIP sweet Barb.

  • Casey Pinter

    So sad to hear this!! She was my Social Work practicum instructor for my Bachelor's degree in 1996. She inspired me to begin a career in Medical Social Work, which I continue to do to this day. My heart is heavy. Thoughts go out to her numerous friends and family. Aloha and A Hui Hou Barb


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