Dick Baker, chairman emeritus of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, respected apparel executive, and generous friend and advisor to many, including me, passed away today after a tough battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Una, sons Ryan and Jack, father, Donald, and sister, Donna.
It's hard to write about the death of a friend and mentor. Dick was one of the most generous and positive people I have ever met. I was always amazed at how he reached out with advice and encouragement for the most senior of executives to those of us just starting out. He was a man of action, and loved being in the thick of meetings and discussions.
He fought cancer bravely. Dick described to me once what it was like to be in the chemo room with other cancer patients, many who were grimacing and understandably glum. He said he didn't dwell on the chemo or being sick. Instead, he put on his headphones and went to work on his Blackberry and tuned it all out. I talked him a few times right after chemo treatments, and asked how he was. He always said "great!" I used to tease him he was the only man in America battling cancer who was so positive and upbeat. I admired so much how he handled his illness. It mirrored how he approached life: with positivity, energy and a "can do" attitude.
I will post a more formal obituary later, including a statement from SIMA. I know Dick touched many, many people inside and outside this industry. Please email me your favorite memories of Dick and I will post them in a special tribute to a great man we will all miss.