James Elmer Baird 1915 - 2002

James Baird

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James E Baird Memorial Service

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James Baird History

James Elmer Baird was born 23 January 1915 in Rigby, Idaho at his parents farm house. He was the 3rd of 9 children born to Asa Baird and Winnifred Kirkman. He was named in honor of his grandfather James Hyrum Baird. As he went by the nickname Jim I will use Jim when referring to him in the rest of this document. Below is a photostatic copy of a certificate filed in 1942 by Jim's mother Winnifred where she witnesses that she was his mother and that the facts stated in the certificate about his birth are accurate.

Birth Certificate

As a child growing up the family moved many times. First from Rigby to Shelton, to Idaho Falls, to Riverside, to Blackfoot, to Wapello to Basalt to Firth, back to Basalt and then again to Firth.

Jim as a very little boy with family Dog

As a young child of about 2-3 the family lived in Shelton. The home had a lot of shade and fruit trees. This is where the children were allowed to play. One day Wayne (Jim's oldest sibling) was supposed to be raking leaves and Vera tending. Jim got in the way of Wayne's raking and Wayne came down with the rake on top of Jim's head. The teeth (of the rake) made a deep gash in Jim's head. Blood spurted out and Vera stood screaming, You've killed him!€ Jim's mother came running out, took him away and washed the blood from his face and hands and bandaged his head with a white rag (Source: Eulogy at Jim's Memorial Service by Jim's granddaughter Barbara Baird Lewis.))

In the 1920 census (line 43), Jim is listed as a son, age 4 in the household of his father Asa Baird. Their residence is listed as Riverside, Bingham County, Idaho.

Jim 1920 Census ( Entire page )

When attending school he usually had to walk with his brothers and sisters. There were times in the winter that his father wouldn't let them go to school because it was too cold outside. Other times his father would hitch up the sleigh and take them to school. The children would take their lunch to school in buckets. Most of the time their lunch was a sandwich made with homemade bread and butter and an egg along with a homemade cookie or piece of homemade cake. Sometimes there would be a tomato, an apple or other vegetable that was in season (Source: Memorial Service Eulogy).

Jim attended Jr high in Firth. Below is a picture of his 8th grade class.

Firth 8th Grade Class
Jim is front row, far left

9th grade Public School Diploma

In the 1930 census (line 13), Jim is listed as a son, age 15 in the household of his father Asa Baird. Their residence is listed as Basalt, Bingham County, Idaho. We learn from the census that his father was renting the farm they lived on and his occupation is listed as a farmer.

Jim 1930 Census ( Entire page )

Jim attended Firth High School. In high school he participated in anything that was musical. When they had a musical production grandpa was the one with the lead part. He had a beautiful singing voice. During his latter high school years and after, when he and his brothers wanted to go courting they would have to catch the train to Blackfoot so they could attend the dances and meet girls. If they missed the train at the end of the evening they had to walk home. Jim said that many times he was running as fast as he could to make that train (Source: Memorial Service Eulogy).

His Senior year in the fall of 1933 Firth was undefeated and won the Eastern and Southern Idaho Championship. Below is a page from a school year book.

Eastern and Southern Idaho Champions

Jim was ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints March 4, 1934

Priest Ordination Certificate

Jim graduated from Firth High school in 1934.

Firth High School Graduating Class 1934
Jim front row, far right

High School Diploma

***Dad regarding statement Jim made to him about wanting to serve a mission but had no $???***

Jim as a young man, date unknown ***Best guess??***

From the 1940 census(line 29, column 17) we learn that Jim was living in Firth, Idaho in 1935

It was at one of these dances mentioned above that Jim met Betty Jean Hudson. Their first dance was to the song: “Red Sails in the Sunset". It became their song. Here is a rendition by Nat King Cole on Youtube. On the night of November 18, 1936 Grandpa came home and into his parent's bedroom and told his mother that he was getting married in the morning. He went to bed then got up and caught the 8 o'clock bus to Blackfoot and was married on November 19, 1936. Below is an image of the listing of their marriage in the Western States Marriage index

Jim & Betty Wedding record

Soon after they were married Jim and Betty moved to California where Jim worked at Construction. They returned and lived in Firth and then Blackfoot. They lived in Blackfoot most of their lives. Early in the marriage Grandpa worked at the Air Base in Pocatello and then he switched to building homes in the Blackfoot area. Jim's children can point out many homes in the Blackfoot area that he built. Homes in the Bagle subdivision and homes along Baird lane for example. Along with home building he built apartment buildings, potato cellars, the Ranger Station on the way to Island Park and the Latrines at Buttermilk Landing.

Jim and Betty had 5 children. Richard (Dick), Lana, Linda (1943), Betty Jean (1944)and Barbara(1948).

The last three children, Linda, Betty Jean and Barbara all were stillborn. Betty's Rh Factor was Rh-negative. If a mother is Rh-negative she may develop antibodies to an Rh-positive baby which can lead to serious illness, brain damage or death in a fetus or newborn. Betty and Jim didn't really have the medical information at the time of the babies birth and they didn't figure it (her RH factor) out until the last baby. (Note that it was about 1940 that the Rh factor was first described and the first mention of preventative treatment was in 1947)

***year??*** Jim

1938 Jim (age ~23) & Dick

Jim and Betty as a young couple ***Best guess on age/date??***

Jim worked as a carpenter on the train for the railroad. In 1947 he started contracting to do carpentry work. ***Cabinet shop etc.??***

In the 1940 census (line 29), Jim is listed as the head of household, married and living with Betty and Dick in Blackfoot, Idaho. His occupation is listed as "Carpenter's Helper" in the "Homebuilding" industry. Also living with them were Betty's father Harry Clyde Hudson and Betty's younger brother Don Hubert Hudson. We learn also from the census that he was out of work on the date of the census (April 1) but seeking work. His annual wages is listed as $900.

Jim 1940 Census ( Entire page )

1941 Jim (age ~26), Betty, Dick & Lana

In 1942 Jim and Betty were living at 756 E Judicial in Blackfoot, Idaho. The WWII gas rationing card below is for their 1936 Ford Tudor, license plate 6A-4146.

WWII gas ration card

Below is a picture of Jim with his siblings and parents. He is on the back row far right.

Asa and Winnifred Baird family February 1942
Back-row L-R: Reed, Clair, Jim
Middle-row: Vera, Neil, Beth, Reva, Wayne
Front-row:Asa, Winnifred, Keith

Sometime around 1943 Jim and Betty moved to the house below at 589 Judicial street in Blackfoot. Watch this video and this video as their son Richard Baird describes the house and living there.

House at 589 Judicial Street
Photo taken in 2017

1944 Jim (age ~29), Betty, Dick & Lana

1946 Jim (age ~31), Betty, Dick & Lana

In about 1949 Jim and Betty moved into a brick house they built in an empty lot next to their house. The house (595 Judicial Street) is shown below in the following pictures. They lived in this house until 1959. Watch this video where their son Richard describes the house and living there.

Houses at 589 and 595 Judicial Street
Photo taken in 2017

Front view of house at 595 Judicial Street
Photo taken in 2017

Side view of house at 595 Judicial Street
Photo taken in 2017

1952 Jim (age ~37), Betty & Lana

In the summer of 1956 Jim and Betty signed a 99 year lease on a property up Henry's fork of the Snake river in Island Park. In the summer of 1957 Jim and his son Dick began building a cabin on the property. They poured footings and built a cinderblock foundation. They then framed it with 2x6. They then peeled lodgepole pine logs for the roof and siding of the cabin. The peeling was mainly done by Betty and Darlene. This cabin was the site of many family outings and memories over the years for Jim, Betty, their children and grandchildren. Many weekends Jim and Betty would go to the cabin. During the winter to snowmobile and during the summer much fishing was done on the Snake river.

Jim was active in the Elk's Lodge of Blackfoot Idaho. He went through all the chairs and served as the Exalted Ruler in 1957 and 1958.

Lana Baird Grinnell:

    "I remember going to the elks’s for father-daughter night and always looked forward to that. I was very proud of my father and he always made me feel very elegant and grown up when we went there."

Mike Baird:

    "I remember he would take me as a young boy to the Elk's club on father & Son's night. I remember the bowling and the dining area where grandma worked."

Jim 1958 (age ~43)

1959 Winnifred Kirkman Baird (mother), Betty Jean Hudson Baird (wife)
James E Baird (age ~44), Darlene Allen Baird (daughter-in-law), Mike (grandson)

In 1959 Jim and Betty bought what was known as the "Albertson" house from their son Richard. This house was the other side of the house on 589 Judicial. At this time then Jim and Betty owned all three houses on the block facing Judicial. The house is shown below. Watch this video as Richard describes the house.

Albertson house on corner of Judicial and Adams Street
Photo taken in 2017

1960 4 Generations
Jim (age ~45), Dick, Asa, Mike Baird

Sometime in the 1960's Jim and Betty sold the Albertson house and moved out to property they owned on the west side of the Snake River in Blackfoot. The first house was at the corner of 460W and Highway 39.

House on corner of N 460 W and Highway 39
Photo taken in 2017

A few years later they sold that house and moved to a house they built on a nearby property with some acreage. The property is at the end of Baird Road (36 N 470 West). There was a canal that ran through the property, pastures for horses or cattle, a barn and a shop. He had several horses over the years. GreyCloud, Barbie, Sal and Streak to name the well known ones. The picture below shows the place as it is in 2017. The Barn and shop which were to the left of the house in the picture are torn down now.

"Ranch" house on Baird Lane
Photo taken in 2017

Barbara Baird Lewis (granddaughter):

    "Grandpa loved horses and had a ranch outside of Blackfoot. If you ask the grandkids they will all tell you about GreyCloud, Streak and Sal. GreyCloud being the famous one. Three of us remember being bucked off of him and grandpa making us get right back on to show GreyCloud who was boss. We did get on, but we all knew who the boss was: GreyCloud and Grandpa! I remember another horse Barbie€ that he always told me he named after me and that she would be mine when I got older. One winter she ate some frozen potatoes and died. I remember crying and crying and wished that it had been GreyCloud instead!"

    I (Mike Baird) too remember the incident Barbara mentions on GreyCloud. Barbara, myself and I think Greg and maybe my brother Jim or Alan were riding bareback on GreyCloud with grandpa leading him. We went through a gate out in the pasture and GreyCloud bolted as I remember and we all went sliding off the back when he took off. I don't know if he was spooked, one of us kicked him or something or he just took off. Grandpa kept a hold of his lead rope and then got us back up on.

The Cabin - In the early 1960s Jim & Betty leased land near Henry's Fork of the Snake River, just upstream from Mack's Inn. Jim & son Dick built a cabin on the property. Jim spent many summer days at the cabin fishing on the river and later in the 70's many winter days on snowmobiles at the cabin. Jim's children and grandchildren all spent many days at the cabin.

Cabin, Nancy Baird, Jim on Right in Brown, Sept 1978

Cabin Dec 1978

Memories about activities at the cabin from Mike Baird's (a grandson) Memorial Service Talk:

    "I would first like to share some of my fondest memories of Grandpa. I would like you to picture with me, if you will, in your mind's eye as I paint the scenes in my mind with words. Here are some scenes painted in my mind as a boy:
    At the Cabin, fire crackling, the black and white TV tuned to a football game. Grandpa and a young boy in front of the TV eating sandwiches and cottage cheese. The boy insisting he doesn't like salt on his cottage cheese.
    In the boat, up the Henry's fork above the cabin. Drifting quietly by an enormous bull moose. Another time, the river teeming with bright red spawning kokanie. A little boy, eyes as big as saucers leaning over the edge of the boat wanting to catch them. Grandpa saying they don'€™t bite.
    The boat anchored at the hole, a boy holding his pole, not realizing he has a fish on until Grandpa points it out to him in with his own unique style and language.
    Scenes painted in my mind, a little older now, a teenager. The Cabin in winter. Snow very deep, the path goes down into the cabin, dark outside, bright cheer inside. A pair of snowmobiles, Grandpa in a jumpsuit, helmet on. The teen on the double track, slow, wishing he was on the single track."

One of the things Jim like to do was fish.

~1963 Jim (age ~47) Dick & Mike at the cabin

From 1978 into the mid 1980's every summer Jim, his son Dick and Dick's sons Michael, Jim and Daniel and in the later years Jim's brother Claire would do a week-long (Monday - Saturday) horse-hike up in the mountains of Idaho or Wyoming.
Mike Baird:

    "Grandpa had 2 horses, Sal and Streak, both quarter horses. Grandpa would ride his pride and joy Streak and usually Daniel would ride Sal because she was the best riding horse. We would borrow other horses from grandpa's friends or use uncle Clair, grandpa's brother's horses to ride and for pack horses. We would load up the horse trailers on Monday morning and drive to our destination, unload and usually ride a ways in the first day. We had saddlebags for our gear and would tie a tarp and sleeping bag on the back of the saddle. We would typically stay at a couple base camps. We spent the days fishing and riding to different destinations to fish. The first year we went up the buffalo river on the north of Jackson hole into the area south of Yellowstone Park and into the southern part of the park. Dan didn't go that year (he was 7 years old then). We rented a mule that first year (and only that year) for packing our gear. We caught lots of fish. Ate them it seemed every morning and night. Lunch was cheese & crackers, vienna sausages etc. We did pack in heavy cast iron skillets and such to cook with over the fire. This was before the times of the nice dome tents, backpacking stoves and so forth so we would sleep on a tarp with a tarp over us and cooked on a fire. Sometimes there was frost on the tarp when we woke up as we were high up in the mountains. Later Daniel had a small dome tent he would take. We went several times to the area south of Yellowstone park and into the southern end of the park. We went into the Salmon Wilderness area and various places in central Idaho. I have great memories of those trips together."

In 1980 Jim sold the cabin in Island Park. He did so without letting any of his children/grandchildren know. This upset his children and grandchildren greatly as they all wished he would have let them know so one of them or the group could have purchased it and kept it in the family. It was a place of many great memories and they were keenly disappointed in him for selling it.

1982 Jim (age 66) & Betty Baird

Mike Baird:

    "In the 1993-1994 time frame we visited grandpa several times. One time Grandpa, my dad, my son Scott and I went fishing on the Snake River above American Falls Reservoir. It was very difficult to drive in as it was muddy. We think we were the first ones to get in as the fishing was superb. We caught several 3-6 lb trout. The next year we went in again to the same area hoping for the same luck. We didn't catch as many fish this time. The highlight was when Scott hooked into a huge carp that was about 3 feet long and about 16 inches in girth. When Scott hooked into it he thought he had a whopper of a trout as his line took off and his pole was bent over double. The joy of the moment to me was watching Scott working the fish for nearly 30 minutes and grandpa laughing and helping him. We all were astounded at the size of the fish when Scott finally got it close to the shore."

In June of 1993 Jim's wife Betty passed away after a long struggle with emphysema. In her latter years Jim took care of her as she had to have oxygen to breathe. She was hooked to an oxygen tank and could not get around very well.

In 1994 he sold his place on Baird Lane and moved into a trailer home in Blackfoot.

Barbara Baird Lewis:

    "Grandpa attended the Dick Baird family reunions at Redfish Lake. He would bring his pickup with the camper and stay the week. Daniel would ride with him from Blackfoot to Challis and over to Stanley, praying hard that grandpa would stay on the road. Grandpa liked to head in interesting directions when he was pointing and exclaiming over something, forgetting that he was driving. He would take any great-grandchildren who wanted to fishing. Mike was his fishing buddy. Those two would disappear for hours. When this happened no G-grandkids would go along. When we were at the beach we would find him sitting under a tree just watching or sleeping. He laughed at the whole group and their antics. The great-grandkids would bring him fish to examine that they had caught in their little nets and he would exclaim excitedly over every one. The largest being maybe 1-2 inches long. He enjoyed the campfire dinners especially Mike's peach cobbler."

1994 Jim (age 79) & Great-Grandson Cory Baird
Fishing at Valley Creek just outside Stanley, Id

Mike Baird:

    "Our oldest daughter Jennifer graduated high school and went to Ricks College in Rexburg Idaho the fall of 1997. I dropped her off at college and then spent several days with grandpa fishing on the snake river. The next year August of 1998, when I got there after dropping off Jennifer at college he said he wasn't feeling to well and said he would just watch while I fished. We went out that afternoon on the Snake River just outside of Blackfoot. I fished while he sat and watched in his lawn chair. We went to his house early in the evening and had some dinner. After dinner he told me to come into his bedroom to look at his leg. I went in and took one look and said to him: "I'm taking you to the hospital". His leg was swollen up about twice its normal size from his toes up to above his knee. It turned out that he had fallen down the day before and had an abrasion on his knee that had turned into a massive staph infection. He hadn't thought much of it because it hadn't even bled. The doctor told me if we had waited until the next morning to get help for his leg, it would have likely been to late to have saved him. I ended up staying a full week with grandpa taking care of him while he recovered. I was grateful that I showed when I did because I could just picture him going to bed that night without seeing the doctor or going to the hospital and we would have lost him."

In January 1999 Jim sold his trailer home and moved to Aloha, Oregon to live with his son Dick and daughter-in-law Darlene. Nearby was his grandsons Mike Baird and Greg Grinnell. About this time Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Dick Baird:

    He had signs of Parkinson 's before he moved to Aloha. I took him in for evaluation right after he arrived in Aloha. It was then that the Doctor told me he did have Parkinson. He fell off the porch at his mobile home backwards and hit his head. The Dr. explained that older people when they get hit in the head by car crashes or falling, the wires in the head break loose and no longer connect which causes loss of motor skills and is called Parkinson, there are other types of Parkinson. Dad's was the head trauma thing."
Dick and Darlene took care of him as his health declined due to Parkinson's over the next several years.

Mike Baird:

    "When he moved here grandpa had slowed considerably. It was very hard to see him that way as I was so used to him being so robust and healthy. Our fishing trips now became me taking him up in the Cascade mountains to fish at the lakes that I love. At first he could go in my canoe at places. But he had difficulty getting in my canoe and I became concerned that he would lose his balance and fall into the lake. So we began to just fish from the shore. Our last fishing trip was to Olallie Lake in Oregon in July 2001. I remember well him sitting on the dock with his pole leaned against the railing. He caught several fish, all about 12" long. He did not give the fish any chance as he reeled them straightway to shore in a no nonsense way. He would hold them up, make a comment about what giants they were and then grin at me with a twinkle in his eye."

April 2001 Jim (age 86)

In March 2002, Jim moved to Meridian, Idaho to be in a care facility. The facility did not have an opening to begin with so he lived at his daughter Lana's house. During the day he would spend time a the facility while Lana was at work. After a while they had an opening but before he moved in the owner sold it. The day he moved in was the first day of the new owners. He was there 5-6 days before the new owners knew he was there. He fell several times. One time he fell and hurt a rib or something and at the same time he came down with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. After that he was moved to a different facility owned by the first owners of the place he was in there. He lived near his daughter Lana and granddaughters Ann and Barbara. They would visit him often, bringing him fudge cycles, candy and homemade treats.

Jim passed away Friday evening November 22, 2002 at the age of 87 from the effects of Parkinson's disease (Death Certificate). The memorial service was held November 22, 2002 at the Elk's Lodge in Blackfoot. Mike Baird, a grandson and serving bishop in the LDS church at the time, conducted the funeral. Barbara Baird Lewis, a granddaughter, gave the Eulogy. Alan Grinnell, a grandson, gave a tribute to his grandfather, and Mike Baird gave a talk about his memories of his grandfather and thoughts. Jim was buried next to his wife Betty in the Grove City Cemetery, Blackfoot, Idaho.

Jim & Betty's grave stone


Galleries of photos (Password Required - Contact Michael Baird for password)