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Jack Henderson Baker

1925 - 2011, Carpinteria

September 8, 1925 - November 18, 2011

Jack Henderson Baker, age 86 of Carpinteria, California, died Friday, November 18, 2011, at his home following a stroke. Jack was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1925, to his parents, Vern and Elizabeth Baker.

He grew up in Ventura, California, with his sister, Ann Baker Peters. After serving in the Coast Guard during World War II, he attended Pomona College as an undergraduate then received his masters degree from Claremont College in 1954. He also studied in Mexico City and Paris. He taught art at Santa Barbara High School until the early 1970s.

Jack’s artistic career spanned several continents and five decades. He is known for incorporating his experiences of gardens, animals, and people from all over the world into his paintings. He traveled and painted in India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Malta, England, Russia and the Seychelles. He is well known for his flower paintings that typified his Santa Barbara years as well as scenes from the coastal life of Maine, where he spent many summers.

Jack achieved an international reputation for his work. He held many one-man shows around the world. His paintings are held in local and international private collections, as well as by museums including the El Paso Museum of Art, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Musser Art Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Acting as a director of the Wallis Foundation, Jack supported many important nonprofit organizations in Southern California and Maine in the areas of wildlife preservation, ecology, civil rights, healthcare for the underprivileged, and arts education.

Jack was a gardener in the true sense of the word. He brought his artist’s vision to life in his renowned Carpinteria garden. He inherited his love of plants from his mother, an avid gardener. His knowledge of plant species and his knack for design resulted in his own lush coastal paradise that anyone who visited fell in love with.

Jack once said, “No place in the world are geraniums as red or oleanders as pink as along the California coast. I work directly from nature. I have developed a taste for the exotic which is reflected in my house, garden, and painting.” In the last years of his life, the garden brought him daily joy.

As an art teacher, artist and socially conscious individual, Jack was an inspiration to his students, friends and family.

He is survived by his former wife Marilyn Jane Carsner Baker, daughters Liza Baker and India Baker Haynes, former son-in-laws Scot Rabe and William Haynes, daughter-in-law Kathleen Madiera, his grandchildren and their spouses, Lelah Baker-Rabe and Dylan Osborn, Victoria Haynes and Jonathan Hendin, Thomas Baker-Rabe and Cecily Conine, PFC Preston Haynes, and Philippa Baker-Rabe, one great-grandchild, Adina Baker-Rabe, and close family friend and fellow artist Fred Gowland.

He was predeceased by his son, Daniel H. Baker and his sister, Ann Baker Peters. The family would like to thank Delfidia Estrada, Mike and Natasha Organista and Carmen Gordinez for their dedication to Jack.

A private celebration of life will be held by the family. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to be made to the Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care of SB, www.vnhcsb.org.

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