Keith R. Baker, 69

February 20, 2020 8:38 AM

Keith R. Baker, 69, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at his home. He was born in Chicago in August of 1950 to Jack S. Forrester and Marie M. Zimmerman Forrester.

At the age of 17, he was appointed to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, but decided it was not for him shortly after arriving. He returned to Illinois and married Leni Ferenc in March of 1970. They had two lovely daughters, Tracy and Meghan.

Keith spent his professional life avoiding boredom, thereby holding numerous positions, in various industries, excelling at whatever he focused on. Houseparent at Mooseheart Child City (go ahead, ask one of us), creative genius behind Garlic Head Barbecue Sauce, recent best selling author of the “Longshot into the West” series, Insurance Counselor, and NRA Instructor, to name a few.

His list of hobbies included geneology, guitar, IRISH bodhran drum, history, hunting, watercolor painting, leather work, construction paper engineering, and many, many more.

Keith had an irreverent sense of humor (except for hay snakes), and an encylopedic knowledge of the world. He believed a well-dressed man owned both dress and casual fluffy slippers. He was an expert IRISH whiskey drinker, an accomplished fly whisperer (yep, you should ask) and lifelong animal lover.

He was absolutely supportive of family; the tie that bound all of us, blood, foster, extended, and removed, together. Keith was a warm, devoted, and caring friend to so very many people, both lifelong and new. We will never be the same without him, but we will try to be as united.

Keith is survived by his loving wife of almost 50 years, Leni; his daughters Tracy Plaiss and Meghan (Leo) Zimmerman; his foster sons, William and Alex (Joyce Torres) Cardenas; sisters-in-law, Darlene Baker and Bernadette Forrester; brothers-in-law, Stephen (Catherine) Ference and Thomas Frank. Also, his adored grandchildren, Elise and Caitlyn Plaiss; Leo, Gregory, Katherine, Madeleine, Douglas, Anne and Dale Zimmerman, and Kylie Cardenas; his nieces, Laurel and Allison Ference and nephews Brian (Emily) Baker and Colin Ference; and great niece Sofie Baker. And let’s not forget Roo, his friend and nemesis.

Keith was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Craig Forrester and Darrell Baker; his son-in-law Patrick Plaiss; and niece Corey Baker.

No services are planned at this time. A celebration of life will follow later this year.