NEW MADRID - Francis M. Baird, 86, died Nov. 28, 2004, at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau.
Born June 15, 1918, in Hayti, son of the late Francis M. Baird and Pierce and Melissa Duncan, he was a member of the First United Methodist Church in New Madrid for more than 50 years, where he served as a member of the church board for many years. Also a past president of the United Methodist Men, he served his church as a lay leader and was district lay leader for the Sikeston and Poplar Bluff area for eight years. In 1997, he received the Lu Miller Award for Lay Speaking for his many years of service to the church in the district. A 32nd degree Mason, he was past worthy patron of the New Madrid Order of the Eastern Star.
Mr. Baird's professional career was centered in the areas of insurance, real estate and real estate development. He retired and sold the Baird Insurance Agency, having been in business for well over 55 years. In his later years, he was designated a certified fee real estate appraiser for the State of Missouri.
Also an active participant in many civic organizations, he was a member and past president of the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a lifetime member and past post commander of the American Legion.
Mr. Baird also coached the American Legion baseball team. In 2002, he was inducted into the Southeast Missouri Amateur Hall of Fame for commitment and dedication to amateur baseball.
On Dec. 7, 1942, in Morley, he married Emma Faye Bledsoe. This union lasted 61 years and Mrs. Baird still resides in the family residence.
Other survivors include: one son and daughter-in-law, William F. and Elizabeth "Tina" Baird of Nashville, Tenn.; and two grandsons and two granddaughters.
One brother and three sisters preceded him in death.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Richards Funeral Home.
Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church in New Madrid. The Rev. Gary Henson will officiate, assisted by the Rev. Lynn Quist.
Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.