Robert Knight Baker

Bob Baker - Penfield, NY - Rochester Cremation
Penfield, NY: 1948-2019.  Bob left a legacy of love, grace, and many friendships when he passed on October 8, 2019. Predeceased by parents, John Herbert and Dorothy Doan Baker.  He is survived by his husband and partner of 17 years and love of his life, Vincent Yacobellis; brothers John H. Jr. (Jodie), Donald D. (Randy Siegel), Sven Wennhall (Karin Aspegren); nieces Jennifer (Richard) Stahmer, Allison (Rory) Kozoll, and nephew Todd (Erin) Baker.  A graduate of Irondequoit High School and Trinity College, Bob lived a very positive life always concerned about others. His love of travel took him around the world, and he felt fortunate to have maintained many friendships throughout his lifetime.  As the first director of the NTID Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology, Bob was proud of beginning a growing collection of deaf art during his 35 year tenure, retiring in 2013.  
Bob believed in trying to live his life in courtesy, available to friends or strangers. In his memory please provide an act of kindness (or two) for someone in need.  Donations may be directed to Lollypop Farm, 99 Victor Road, Fairport, NY 14450.

44 Condolences

  1. Beth Simon on October 10, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    My most heartfelt condolences to Victor and Bob’s family. I was one of Bobs nurses at the cancer. Center. We all just loved Bob so much. He was the absolute best. Always sharing pictures of my dogs with him. May he rest in peace. ♥️

    • Luane Haggerty on October 11, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      As a very new faculty member I wanted to find ways to bring the lessons of the classroom into their out of classroom world to make the abstract concrete. For more than 10 years Bib allowed me to turn the Dyer Art Gallery into an ASL poetry house at the end of every quarter (back then we did not yet do semesters). No doubt he took some heat but it became a beloved part of passing English courses with older students returning to cheer on younger students. I am still asked about these poetry shows today. The gentle kindness and delight he took at watching these students and their creation of new poetry was always so genuine.
      Later on when I taught Arts Administration he often came to class as a guest speaker to discuss the running of an Art Gallery. He was even able to find space,at times, to bring on very eager students to work in the Dyer.
      I will miss him deeply and remember him fondly.

    • Kathleen Martin on October 14, 2019 at 11:12 am

      I’ve never worked with anyone who could orchestrate events like Bob. When I became a development officer for NTID, Bob guided me in planning several events. He would ask me dozens of questions, many of which caused me to think about details and nuances I would have otherwise overlooked. Bob, as I mourn your passing, I am also deeply grateful for everything you taught me.

    • Vince Yacobellis on October 17, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks Beth, to you and the staff of the Wilmot Infusion Center, WCC7 and WCC5, for you excellent care and loving compassion for Bob during appointments and hospitalizations. He always felt respected and well cared for. Thank you, Vince

      • Eileen Hosler-Simpson on October 17, 2019 at 9:35 pm

        Vince, I am sending warm thoughts and prayers for comfort. We love you and are sending hugs. We are so sorry for your profound loss.
        Glenn and Eileen Hosler-Simpson

  2. Michael Schwam on October 11, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Gary and I lost a great friend…Vinny lost a devoted spouse…Don and Jack lost a marvelous brother…but the world lost one of the most wonderful, sweet and compassionate persons I’ve ever met.

  3. Sally Skyer on October 11, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Oh no. Bob was a wonderful friend and colleague. He always had a smile and positive attitude. He will be missed.

  4. Lynn Vandeviver on October 11, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    I have known Bob for a brief time before he retired from NTID after I Just started working at RIT and he always had a smile on his face. I enjoyed chatting with him and you will be terribly missed.

    • Rose Marie and Tony Toscano on October 12, 2019 at 9:48 am

      Our hearts are saddened learning of Bob’s passing. He was truly the kindest, most agreeable person to work with. And that constant smile! Rest In Peace, dear one. Our condolences to Bob’s husband and family. His presence will indeed be missed.

      • Sue Maloy on October 13, 2019 at 11:40 am

        So sad, yet sweet Bob is now at peace! My deep sympathy to his husband and family!

        I first met him 40 yr ago during our mutual NTID/RIT careers! He was wonderful at public relations and so professional! Will forever remember his fabulous smile!

        And then it was a joy to reconnect with him as Vinny’s partner and husband! Two kind and dear people!

        Maybe it helps a little to know that friends share in Bob’s family’s loss!


    • Janet Marventano on October 13, 2019 at 8:38 am

      Bob was a kind and gentle person. We worked in the same department for many years at NTID. Our department became a family with many wonderful times and memories. We kept in touch after retirement. I will miss you my friend.

    • Jenamarie Bacot on October 14, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      Bob was definitely a kind man who was great to work under when I was hired as a student worker for the dyer arts center. He supported me! I am saddened to hear of his passing and had no idea he was battling cancer. Vinnie, I send our condolences to the loss of your beloved spouse. May the comfort of many kind memories flood your moments in these days to come.

      • Nancy Jo Gambacurta and Ken Kassel on October 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

        Robert Baker was our longtime and dear friend. It is difficult to quantify the life of caring and concern for all those people whose lives touched his. Cats and dogs, including Krinkles, Toby, Lincoln, Bentley and in his last days, Archie were also affected by his love and kindness. Bob treated everyone with courtesy and respect and was the embodiment of the term fair-mindedness.
        Vinny, you were the best thing that ever happened to Bob and we will always love you for that. As hard as it is to to lose this man, we are truly honored to have known him. Rest in peace, dear Bobby.

  5. Tomas Nazario on October 11, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Tomas Nazario. October 11 at 9::20pm
    I met Bob through my friend Bruce Clark from Interlaken NY about 8 years ago Bob always showed his most genuine smile, kindness and joyful spirit . He became a wonderful friend. There are no words to describe all his attributes. He will live in our memories and in our harts. Vinny you are not along because you have a lot of friends that love dearly. God bless you and a big hug

    • Mary Beth Mothersell on October 11, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      I loved Bob. He was a class act. Always kind. Wonderful to students, and wonderful to work with, too. He always seemed to know how to handle whatever was put in front of him. Godspeed, Bob. 💕

    • John Patrick Sullivan on October 12, 2019 at 11:23 am

      Bob took the time to greet people who walked by his office or talked to people away from his office. Bob was proud of his work and his accomplishments. NTID was fortunate to have him. Thank you, Bob. Rest In Peace.
      John Patrick Sullivan

  6. Bonnie Meath-Lang on October 11, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Harry and I were so sad to hear of Bob‘s passing. He was a gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor who appreciated beauty in everything and everyone. He will be missed by his many friends at RIT/NTID and in the visual and performing arts communities. Our deepest condolences to his husband and family.

  7. Kip Webster on October 11, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Bob met everyone with a smile and a caring approach to solving their problem. A lovely gentleman. I’ve missed him at NTID for the past six years. And am sorry to hear of his passing. Godspeed Bob!

  8. Mike Sullivan on October 12, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Bob was simply a loving person and a delight to know for many years. His smile was part of the reward of knowing him. I shall miss his smile and this witty and gentle man greatly.

  9. Robb Adams on October 12, 2019 at 11:59 am

    So very sad to hear of Bob’s passing. What a great colleague he was., caring compassionate, effective and passionate about NTID and the wonderful world of art that he curated and honored. You will be missed Bob. Much love to your entire family.

  10. Amy Stornello on October 12, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Aww, I’m SO saddened to read this. Bob was so funny, awesome and come on, we used to play euchre during our lunch breaks at work. 😉
    He loved to talk and share his adventures and always had a smile.
    I will definitely miss him. My sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.

  11. Tom Raco on October 12, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Bob and I worked closely for several years building the artistic foundation of NTID’s permanent collection. I looked up to him and his sense of fairness and respect when dealing with creative people. I don’t think I ever met or worked with anyone quite as accommodating or hard working as Bob. A gentle, compassionate soul and a man with an awesome sense of humor, Bob will be dearly missed by all who had the honor and good fortune to know him. Condolences to his family.

  12. Liz O'Brien on October 12, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Bob was close cherished friend and colleague for nearly four decades. He was incredibly talented and creative. He made the Dyer Gallery the focal point of beauty, entertainment, and enjoyment for the entire NTID Community as well as national & international visitors. I worked closely with him on several national conventions and he amazed me with his organizational skills. I always told him, ” You’re the only person I know who can put together a sit-down dinner for 100 people in an hour!” He could smooth “ruffled feathers” with anyone with finesse and a winning smile. He was there for me in my darkest hour with caring love and support. If he was your friend you were twice-blessed. He was a gentleman and a gentle man. He was held in the highest regard by all of us who knew and worked with him, a “complete professional” in every aspect of his role at NTID.
    He’s left an indelible mark and legacy of “service above self” that will never be equaled. I will miss his engaging presence in my life. He always made me feel good when we were together and that’s how I’ll remember him. God bless you dear Bob and welcome you home.
    “Perhaps they are not stars…. rather openings in Heaven to let the light of our loved one shine down to let us know they are at peace and happy”

  13. chrisbulone on October 12, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Bob was a thoughtful loving person always showed me a good time when I came to visit from a great cocktail hour to a ride on the boat I am happy he was in my brother’s life and he will be missed very much my condolences to his family

  14. Gus Thompson on October 13, 2019 at 9:24 am

    So sorry to hear of your passing, Bob. Like your many other friends who have responded here, I will miss your smile, caring approach and overall thoughtfulness. You were a great colleague and friend who could manage elaborate events with aplomb. You were a true professional, yet loved and appreciated by all who knew you. I will remember you fondly.

  15. Patricia Lago-Avery and Joseph Avery on October 13, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    It was with great sorrow that I learned of Bob’s passing. Joe and I send our sincere condolences to Bob’s husband and his entire family.
    Although I have known Bob professionally for many years it was not until 2013 that I had the joy of working with him directly as he helped me
    set up my photography exhibit of Flowers taken from the perspective of a deaf-blind person. He was so supportive and as always incredibly professional. He also picked out three photos for the NTID Deaf Collection. While I am not a professional photographer Bob certainly made
    me feel so equal to many of the professional artists that have passed through the Dryer’s Art Gallery. He was a jewel, a sunny person who
    always made me feel so positive which is exactly who he is. May he rest in the hands of another tender soul where ever he might be. May he
    bring joy and sunshine to those who might surround him now. May his earthly family continue to always feel his presence and love.

  16. Daisy and Tibor Guthin on October 13, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I am bereft to hear that Bob has left us in the flesh, unaware as I was that he was ill. Bob and I were neighbors on Lafayette Parkway 25 years ago. He was, hands down, the best neighbor EVER, and we became wonderful friends who lost touch the past few years, both of us having married and moved from the neighborhood. We kept in touch more closely early on, and now I certainly rue that my husband and I had lost touch with Bob and Vince the past few years. You always figure when you have more time, you’ll reach out. We had many wonderful times together sharing a meal, gardening, or just hanging out.
    We will certainly make a contribution to Lollypop in his memory, as one of the things we enjoyed most with each other was our dogs. Bob once brought his snow plow over to make a trail in my back yard so my Irish Setter could get outside during a heavy snow season. Who else?
    My husband Tibor and I send our condolences to Vince, and to his and Bob’s families. It pains us both greatly that we will not again enjoy his ebullience, warmth, embrace, and generous heart.

  17. S Baylor on October 13, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    With great sympathy to Vince and to Bob’s family we mourn Bob’s untimely passing. He was a wonderful neighbor in Ellison Park Heights planting trees to allow holiday displays in his yard, supporting tract welcoming events in his yard and establishing lovely gardens to greet folks coming into the neighborhood. He made sure his dog, Toby, had a snow-blown path in the yard for exercise and fun in the snow. We were sad to see him move from the neighborhood, but happy that he had found Vince and great happiness. I have not seen much of Bob since his move but have certainly remembered his positive attitude, his ready smile —and that twinkle in his eye.! RIP, Bob. You have left a void——and a beautiful legacy. You will not be forgotten!

  18. Ginny Lindsay on October 14, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    I am very saddened by this news. Bob was such a kind, funny, wonderful person. I often would stop by his office just to chat – his door was always open and he always had a smile on his face. Bob, you will be missed.

    My condolences to his family.

  19. Jess Cuculick on October 14, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I am sorry to hear of the news. Bob was a pleasure to work with at RIT/NTID.

  20. Joanne Everts on October 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    So sad to hear of Bob’s passing. He was one of my favorite people – always ready with a smile, a hug, a positive attitude, and whatever help he could provide. He was especially helpful when I was working in the Performing Arts department at NTID (30 years ago!). Sincere condolences to his husband and their families. Rest in peace, my dear friend.

  21. Lee Twyman on October 14, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Bob, you will be missed by so many. Your warmth and professionalism welcomed so many of us into the magic of NTID. You we kind, knowledgeable and so patient in assisting many of us who knew you were the go-to person for all types of activities and events. We send our compassion and memories to your husband and family.

    Lee Twyman and Michael Steve

  22. Thomas Warfield on October 14, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    My deepest sympathies to Victor and to Bob’s family. My memories of Bob at NTID/RIT are filled with warmth, kindness and enormous generosity. He gave so freely of himself and was a consistent guide and supportive colleague and trusted friend to me for nearly 2 decades. I admired greatly his ability to put people at ease and to bring differing perspectives and ideas together. He was a creative soul and a compassionate one. His legacy of kindness and gentle, inclusive leadership helped to build the successes we have today at NTID and especially the Dyer Arts Center. His memory lives always in our hearts….

    Thomas Warfield

  23. Vickie Darcy on October 14, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    My deepest condolences to Vincent, and all of Bob’s extended family. I met Bob in 1980 when I transferred to RIT as a student. I worked for Bob and Ella Ford for two years while pursing my degree. As a professional staff member at NTID, I had many occasions to work with Bob. I truly admired him for his professionalism, his humor and his love for NTID and the arts. Bob taught me that there is humor in just about everything, that kindness and laughter not only makes you feel good but all that it touches. We loved sharing ski stories, and stories abut our pets. A gentleman with a huge heart. I will always cherish the memories. Rest in peace Bob.

  24. Debbie Stendardi on October 14, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I am so very sorry to read this news about Bob’s passing. We worked together on many many events and programs over the years. He was unfailingly professional, gracious and a true gentleman. He surely was one of my most favorite colleagues at RIT. My heartfelt condolences to his entire family. He is very much missed by all of us here at RIT.

  25. Al Smith on October 14, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Rest in peace my dear friend.

  26. Jeanette Tydings on October 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Bob was the consummate professional and had the most calm demeanor, which was essential in his line of work. I always enjoyed speaking with him, albeit briefly, as we both went about our daily routines in NTID’s halls. His smile was infectious and the day was made even better when one was the recipient of that smile. Bob’s retirement was well-deserved but left a gap for many of us who relied on his helpful advice. His absence leaves a gap for his spouse, family and friends as well, but his wonderful legacy lives on for all of us. Rest in peace, Bob, and we’ll see you sometime….

  27. John Aasp on October 15, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Bob, you gave me my first gallery job as a student, and it jump-started my career. You were such a pleasure to work with and know. Thank you for your mentorship, your friendship, and your kindness toward people and animals. Love and peace to you and Vinnie.

  28. Jeannette Giagios on October 16, 2019 at 9:29 am

    My deepest condolences to Victor and Bob’s family. Bob you always made me smile and checked in almost daily to see how I was doing and what the Panara Theatre was doing so the Art Center and Theatre could work together at all times. You even said at times that I was not afraid of heights and could go up in the Art Center’s lift at any time to fix things that others were not comfortable doing. You brought a smile to my face every day and I will truly miss you.

    • Jeannette Giagios on October 16, 2019 at 9:32 am

      From my recent message – please forgive me Vincent (not Victor).

  29. Eugene Lylak on October 16, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    My sincerest condolences go out to all of Bob’s family. Bob was a wonderful person who for over all the 30 years that we worked together always had an encouraging word and kind smile for the people he interacted with on a daily basis. May Bob rest in peace now and may his family take comfort in the memories he created in the hearts and minds of each of the many friends he had at NTID. Bічная пам’ять!

  30. Peter Haggerty on October 19, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Bob’s bright smile, wit, talent, and warmth informed all the many interactions we had at NTID for more than 30 years. He was a rock of charm and consistency. He was, indeed, as Liz has said, the living definition of “service above self” and getting the job done with aplomb and grace. My condolences to all who loved him.

  31. Jane Bolduc on October 25, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Bob’s smile and warmth will be missed. We enjoyed discussing our dogs. Bob made the Dyer Arts Center what it is today..a showcase .. He shared his many talents with us. My sympathy goes out to Vincent and his family. RIP Bob you will be missed by all who knew you.

  32. Vince Yacobellis on November 23, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I would like to thank all who have expressed words of sympathy and shared their positive experiences. He would be, and I am overwhelmed by the out pouring of love and support. There is quite a void in the space where his presence once filled. May his smile and positive energy be part of all who knew him. Rest in peace, my love.

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