YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Loving Legacy of Christopher Baker

June 28, 1992

My 4-year-old daughter was taught by Christopher Baker, who was killed recently by a drunk driver.

Chris could have been anyone, you or me; he was not taking any risks, merely a passenger in a car with friends driving a few short blocks home.

Besides being "Mr. Chris," a full-time teacher at Neighborhood Nursery School, Chris was "Coach" to hundreds of kids at the Santa Monica YMCA, Little League and the St. Joan of Arc Church. At only 26, he was great friend, helper and counselor to all he met.

As I got to know Chris, I realized what it meant to be "a terrific guy," someone who would commit his life to giving so much to so many kids.

I once asked the wisest person I knew what was a more important life's work, to further human knowledge or lessen human suffering. Her answer was simply "to raise good kids."

Our society the last 50 years has proven this true. In that time, we have advanced knowledge and gained material comforts more than any other time in history, but has the quality of our existence improved? Injustice, greed and lack of compassion have only seemed to increase with our prosperity.

It is the character of people that is important. Only by showing our children the value of things like fairness, responsibility and compassion can we truly improve.

Chris knew better; his character and values are testament to those who raised him as a child, and befriended him as an adult. I am saddened that only now do I fully appreciate what he had to give. But I am gladdened that he has taught me to recognize and appreciate those values in myself and others.

Chris' legacy to me, and I hope to the many more he touched, is that we all strive to be "terrific" people, for our kids and for our world.


West Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times Articles