Rayburn William Baker Jr., DO, 74, passed away peacefully Sunday, July 26th 2009.
Rayburn William Baker Jr., DO, 74, passed away peacefully Sunday, July 26th 2009. Beloved husband, father, doctor and friend, Ray touched the lives of many, providing comfort and care with his gentle nature as a Doctor of Osteopathy board certified in General Practice and Sports Medicine, team physician for the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, senior medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Association, and founding member of the American Osteopathic Society of Sports Medicine, with the honor of Fellow in 1997 for his service and dedication.
Born June 30th 1935, Independence, Mo., son of Rayburn William Baker and Helen Louise Griffin, Ray graduated from William Chrisman High School 1953, was a member of the rifle team, played 1st chair trumpet, and enjoyed playing baseball. As a youth, Ray developed his initial interest in flying, with his father’s involvement in Baker’s Flying Service. In later years, Ray obtained a flying certificate for single and twin engines, and held part ownership of a private plane.
He earned a music scholarship to attend Drury College in Springfield, Mo., 1954-57, where he met and married his wife of 53 years, Martha Jane Wheatley. While in attendance at Drury, Ray was a member of ODK honorary fraternity.
Following Drury, Ray was accepted to the University of Health and Sciences of Kansas City, and earned a Doctor of Osteopathy diploma in 1963. While at the University, he served as an anatomy assistant and clinical assistant professor, and also worked as a research chemist for Western Chemical Company.
In 1963, Ray was granted an internship at Lakeside hospital in Kansas City, Mo., later becoming Chief of Staff 1974-77, and elected to the Board of Directors with the facility.
In 1964, Ray opened his family medical and obstetrics private practice in Raytown, Missouri, becoming certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice. An active member of the community, Ray played an integral role in the growth and development of Park Lane Medical Center of Kansas City in 1980, and served as medical staff, Chief of Staff 1980-81, and Life Member Board of Directors 1982. Ray also was a staff member with Research Medical Center, Lee’s Summit Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital of Blue Springs, Independence Regional Hospital, and Research Psychiatric Center throughout his career.
Ray also became a member of the Jackson County Osteopathic Association, served as President 1984-85, was a member of the Missouri State Osteopathic Society and the American Osteopathic Association, and has also been a member of the American College of Sports Medicine since 1978.
Always an avid sports enthusiast, Ray served as a physician for the Kansas City Golden Gloves boxing association, earning “Outstanding Doctor” for the 1983 tournament. He also dedicated much effort to the local community, providing annual youth sports physicals, and participated in Deron Cherry’s ‘Score One for Health’ campaign during the 80’s.
It was Ray’s dream come true to earn the title of team physician for the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club 1983-95. He attended training camp, traveled to every game, and also attended exhibition games in Germany and Japan. He was a proud member of The National Football League Physicians Society, as well as the American College of Sports Medicine, certified 1988-95, served as a member of the Kansas City Sports Medicine Round Table since 1984, and held a certificate of competence in Sports Medicine 1989.
Ray enjoyed bowling – winning big on the televised “Bowling for Dollars” program in the 70’s, and was a season ticket holder for the Kansas City Kings basketball team – winning the half-time “Free-Throw competition” promotion one season with two perfect “swishes” into the basket. Ray was a season patron to Starlight Theatre for almost 35 years, and also threw a mean pitch for a doctor’s softball team called the “Has-Beens.” He loved fishing and boating at Lake of the Ozarks, and later at his residence of Lake Lotawana. Together with wife Martha, Ray hosted many lake gatherings through the years for family and friends. The couple enjoyed traveling together, and recently had the pleasure to celebrate 53 years of marriage in April 2009.
Ray’s life is celebrated not only for his triumph of accomplishments and service, but for the kind, humble, and true “gentleman” he was to all that knew him. He is survived by his wife Martha, two children, Victoria and Bruce, sister Linda, niece Paulina and four grandchildren Nicholas, Jillian, Justin and Brianna.
A private burial service will be held for immediate family this week, and a public memorial celebration of music and prayer will honor Ray’s life 7 p.m. Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at the Lee’s Summit United Methodist Church located at 114 SE Douglas Street Lee’s Summit, MO 64063. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Diabetes Association or the National Parkinson Foundation.