After a 4-year battle with cancer, Rey L. Baird, 68, hiked his last "two more city blocks" on June 4, 1999.
He and his twin sister, LaRee, were born in Salt Lake City on January 30, 1931 to J. Reese and Ruby Huish Baird. He married Joanne Pay in the Salt Lake Temple on June 7, 1957. They had 12 children, two of whom preceded him in death.Rey graduated from Granite High School in Salt Lake City. He served with the U.S. Army Artillery in Germany. After his discharge and marriage, he returned to Germany for a year of schooling at Heidelberg University. His second daughter was born in Germany. He graduated from the University of Utah with a BA and from BYU with an MA in German. He obtained a Ph.D. from Indiana University in Linguistics and returned to BYU where he taught until his retirement in 1996. While at BYU he served many years as Chairman and Assistant Chairman of the Linguistics Department.
Rey served a two and a half year mission in the Samoan Islands. He had a life-long love for the Polynesian people, which he passed on to his children and grandchildren. In 1967 he was asked to write a Samoan Language Manual for the U.S. Government Peace Corps. He twice had the opportunity to be an exchange professor at BYU Hawaii.
Because of his camping skills, Rey was asked by those working for the Provo School District in 1969 to help design an out-door education program for students finishing the 5th grade. The camp is held at Big Springs in the south fork of Provo Canyon. He worked in the program from its beginning until he was diagnosed with cancer in 1995.
For about the last 20 years, Rey has hiked Rock Canyon three times a week, rain or shine, summer and winter. He had a great love, respect and reverence for nature. He took every opportunity to use nature as a tool for teaching divine character traits and a love of God to his children, family and associates. After learning that his cancer was terminal and there were no other effective treatment options, he organized a pack hike across the Uintah mountains, beginning at Vernal and ending at Mirror Lake. Most of his children participated in one form or another, meeting him with food and hiking a short distance with him. Two of his grandchildren hiked the full 100 miles while another granddaughter met them the third day and hiked the rest of the way. Enroute they hiked Kings Peak, the highest mountain in Utah. This trip was a fulfillment of a life long dream.
Rey was active in the LDS Church, serving in many capacities including Bishop of the Pleasant View First Ward in Provo; on the High Council of the Sharon East Stake; as well as working with his wife in the Stake Girls Camp program. He served as Scout Master in Indiana as well as Provo. His love for his former scouts of Troop 36 and 736 has prompted his request that they serve as honorary pall bearers at his funeral which will be held in the Pleasant View Third Ward Chapel, 650 E Stadium Ave., Provo, on Tuesday, June 8, 1999 at 12 Noon. Viewing Monday 5 to 8 p.m. in the Chapel and again 10 - 11:30 Tuesday prior to the funeral. Burial in Holladay Memorial Park, 4800 Memory Lane, Holladay, Utah.
He is survived by his wife, Joanne, ten children and 25 grandchildren: Charlene and Jim Christensen and six children of Draper, Elaine and Brian Partridge and six children, Russell and Margie Baird and six children, Ronald and Janel Baird and four children, all of Provo. Rebecca and Monty Burkholder and two children of Tucson, Arizona, Douglas and Laurel Baird, and Sarah Baird of Provo, Daniel and Julie Baird and one child, Janette and Jeff Fischer of Orem, and Rachael Baird of Provo. Rey is also survived by his twin sister, LaRee Aldous of Salt Lake City and brothers, Hugh of Provo, James of Mapleton, Keith serving a mission in Missouri, Robert of Provo and Charles Baird of Las Vegas Nevada.
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