Herbert George Baker, a professor of Botany and Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley for 33 years, died July 2, at Piedmont Gardens in Oakland after a long illness. He was 81.
A pioneer in the field of ecology, he authored numerous articles and books, including four editions of “Plants and Civilization,” which was translated into at least five languages.
Those who knew him will remember the Sunday salons, during which, for at least two decades on the last Sunday of every month, he and his wife opened their home to students, faculty and friends for informal discussions. He was a friend to several generations of students.
From 1957 to 1969 he was director of UC Berkeley’s Botanical Gardens. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award and when he retired in 1990 he received the University Citation.
He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Association for Tropical Biology, the American Institute for Biological Science, the International Association of Botanic Gardens, the Society for the Study of Evolution (former President), and the Botanical Society of America (former president).
Born in Brighton, England in 1920, Baker received a bachelor’s degree from the University of London in 1941 and his doctorate in 1945. He came to the United States in 1957.
He was preceded in death by Irene, his wife of 44 years, in 1989. He is survived by his daughter Ruth Grimes of Berkeley; his grandson Michael Grimes of Houston, Texas; and his sister Evelyn Baker of Brighton, England.
At his request no funeral services will be held.