Patricia M. Baird, 85, of Akron passed away peacefully on August 20, 2020. Born in Akron, Ohio, on June 24, 1935, she was daughter of Marie C. (Messerly) and Leopold A. Hummel. She was predeceased by her husband of nearly 58 years, William R. Baird. She is survived by daughters, Sally M. Baird of Arlington, Virginia, and Rebecca L. Baird of Surfside Beach, South Carolina; grandsons, Ryan William and Adam Alonzo Foster-Baird, stepsister-in-law, Ingrid Douglass; treasured cousin, David Messerly; and countless friends.
Pat graduated from Buchtel High School in 1953, going on to graduate from the University of Akron. She was active with the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, where she formed treasured friendships which remained strong until her death.
Her first job post-graduation was for John Ballard in the Summit County Prosecutor's Office. Her experiences in that office provided an endless trove of stories told -- and retold -- for decades. The most important outgrowth of her tenure there was her marriage to one of the assistant prosecutors, aforementioned William Baird, a young upstart she had introduced to Ballard, who then went on to hire him. Students of Akron history know that John Ballard next became Akron's mayor, and hired Bill as City Law Director. Bill was destined for public service, but Pat was always quick to point out that his career trajectory might not have happened but for that pivotal introduction. No one ever disagreed with her.
A lifetime of public service followed for both Pat and Bill. She managed his campaigns, including painting his one and only yard sign when he ran for Fairlawn Village City Council. Later, from the family's basement, she oversaw direct mail operations for campaigns for Summit County Prosecutor (a loss) and for Judge of Common Pleas Court and Ninth District Court of Appeals (multiple wins). She was also active with a number of community organizations, including WITAN and Akron City Hospital volunteers. A longtime member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, she was committed to improving church accessibility. She was also an avid quilter, needleworker, painter, and gardener. She also ran a shuttle service for Sally, Becky, and their friends to endless school and sport activities.
After launching daughters into high school and beyond, Pat enjoyed a second career with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, serving as a social worker doing outreach to those newly diagnosed with MS, ensuring that they had information and access to services. Pat treasured the "Woman of Courage" award she received in 2006. A strong believer in nontraditional healing and homeopathy, Pat actively engaged in self-study, participated in study groups, and generously shared her knowledge on those topics.
Some retirees travel, Pat and Bill raised alpacas at their property in Copley, Ohio. Caring for a herd which peaked at 26, Pat dispatched Bill to handle the barn chores, while she handled bookkeeping, naming of alpaca babies, administering homeopathic remedies for alpaca ills, and learning the intricacies of shearing and then working with alpaca wool. Friends treasure those beautifully knitted gifts accompanied by a picture of the alpaca from whence the yarn came. Grandsons will forever treasure memories of summer visits to grandma and grandpa's alpaca farm.
Family and friends will gather at a future date to inter Pat's ashes next to Bill at Rose Hill Burial Park. Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Judge William and Patricia Baird Endowed Scholarship Fund at University of Akron School of Law.
Services in care of~The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333.
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