David H. Baker, MD (1925–2019)
Dr. David Baker passed away peacefully Sept. 25, 2019, with his lifelong love, Betsy, by his side. He was 94 years old.
David H. Baker was born in 1925 in Concord, NH, to Barbara Betts and Leland V. Baker. He was raised in Yonkers, NY, and Wellfleet, MA. During World War II, David served in Patton’s Third Army, 87th Infantry Division. He was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. After returning home, he attended Wesleyan University and graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine.
After completing a pediatric residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, he completed a radiology residency at the same institution and continued as a member of the staff. During his residency, he was able to spend time with Dr. John Caffey at Babies Hospital (Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian) and Dr. Edward Neuhauser at Children’s Hospital in Boston. He came to Babies Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, in 1959 as the director of pediatric radiology and successor to Dr. Caffey, and he later became chairman of radiology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. His training with both fathers of pediatric radiology was not shared by any other pediatric radiologist.
Dr. Baker achieved world renown as a pediatric radiologist. He was one of the founding physicians of the pediatric radiology specialty. From 1965 to 1976, he directed a training grant in pediatric radiology, funded by the Children’s Bureau, Department of Health Education and Welfare, Washington, DC. His curriculum vitae includes nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers. With Dr. Walter Berdon, he edited many editions of Caffey’s Pediatric X-Ray Diagnosis and co-wrote many early seminal articles in pediatric radiology. He served as an editor of Radiology and Current Problems in Radiology and was a referee for the Journal of Pediatric Surgery as well as Pediatric Radiology. He served as president of the Society for Pediatric Radiology in 1969 and president of the New York Roentgen Society in 1970. He was invited to lecture and teach throughout the world.
Dr. David Baker was the James T. Picker Professor Emeritus of Radiology at Columbia University and chairman of radiology emeritus at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was the third chairman of Columbia’s Radiology Department (1982–1988).
Dr. Baker is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betsy, and his children and grandchildren: daughter Laurie and her husband, Bill Crosley; daughter Susan Naker Leavitt and her daughters Lizzie and Gwynne; son David and his wife, Carol, and their children David, Katie and Jon.
Dr. Baker is remembered as a superb pediatric radiologist, a calm presence, a caring colleague and a wonderful man.