On Saturday, March 13, 2021, John Ernest William Baay, M.D., loving husband and father of four, passed away at the age of 88. John, “Jan” to his Dutch parents, was born in Mexico City on June 24, 1932, to Pieter and Johanna (Lührs) Baay. At the age of 13, without speaking any English, they sent him to The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, where he graduated cum laude in 1949. He graduated from Princeton University in 1953 and from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1957. He completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Duke University and continued his general surgery residency at Hartford Hospital where he met and fell in love with Nancy Burton Middlebrook. They were married on his birthday, June 24, 1961, and a year later, with a three-week old baby, headed to Houston to complete his Cardiothoracic surgical training with DeBakey and Cooley. In 1963, they moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he began his surgical practice and added two more children to the family. In 1971, the family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where his fourth child was born. There, he proudly became a U.S citizen and faithfully served the people of the Panhandle until he retired in 2002. He regularly attended First Presbyterian Church and enjoyed playing bridge, quail and pheasant hunting and snow skiing He never missed a summer on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. On the lake, he rowed every day, sailed his Hobie Cat and visited with life-long friends and the growing families of his four children. Papa is survived by Nan, his wife of almost 60 years; his four children: Johnny, married to GiGi (Mills); Peter, married to Laura (Helmus); Amy, married to Chris Rodgers; and David, married to Berklee (Beakley); his 13 grandchildren: Will, Madeline, Stephen, Maggie, Andy, Brooks, Davis, Gray, Bo, Benjamin, Bradley, Andrew and Louis; his three great-grandchildren: Sebastian, Sarah and Lucille; and his dog, Ruby, who was always at his side.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 19, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation in support of the GROW Across Generations Capital Campaign at First Presbyterian Church at 1100 S. Harrison St, Amarillo, TX 79101. GROW Across Generations Capital Campaign