Richard Baker, doctor, Navy commanding officer

Richard A. Baker
Richard A. Baker
Posted: June 21, 2014

Richard A. Baker, 84, of West Mount Airy, a physician who served in the 1970s as the commanding officer at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia and later taught and practiced obstetrics here, died Wednesday, June 11, of lung cancer at Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Dr. Baker served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and retired in 1979 with the rank of captain. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal in 1973.

During more than two decades of military service, Dr. Baker, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, was head of obstetrics at naval hospitals in the Philippines, San Diego, and Newport, R.I.

He rose from director of clinical services at the Naval Center in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s to become the center's commanding officer from 1977 to 1979. "He loved it," said his daughter, Ricki Kallish.

Dr. Baker later served as a professor at Jefferson Medical College and Hahnemann University, where he also helped direct the obstetrics and gynecology departments. At Hahnemann, he was honored with the Teacher of the Year Award in 1990 and 1991.

He was a past president of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia. He spoke and published widely.

Born in Monroe, Utah, he graduated from the University of Utah in 1952 and received his medical degree in 1956. He interned at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., followed by a residency at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington.

"He was a very professional guy who enjoyed the organizational side of the military. But he also had a mischievous side - a good sense of humor. He was family-oriented. We did everything together," Kallish said. "He was just Daddy."

Besides Kallish, Dr. Baker is survived by daughters Lori Balajthy and Allison; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Marilynn Sage Baker, died in 2006. Funeral services and burial were private.

Donations may be made to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Box 96172, Washington, D.C. 20090. The organization supports military families.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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