John Dean Baker, 77, of Baker, Nevada, died May 13, 2017.
Dean was born December 19, 1939 in Delta, Utah to Fred and Betty Baker.
He attended Delta High School. He then received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Utah in 1963. He was a rancher and farmer throughout his life.
In 1954 his parents bought the Silver Creek Ranch in Baker, Nevada, and Dean helped when he wasn’t in school and returned to the ranch full time after graduation. They added the Baker Ranch in 1959. Dean worked to modernize the Baker Ranch improving water and energy efficiency. He also increased the size of the ranch and farm operations adding valley ranching properties over time. In addition, he served on several boards and committees, including the USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Committee during the Nixon and Ford administrations; the Board of Directors for Mt. Wheeler Power for 13 years in the 1970s and 80s and served as chairman for several years; the Board of Directors for Oasis Seed, Inc. in the 1980s and 90s; the Board of Directors for Producers Livestock Marketing Association in the 1990s and 2000s and served as chairman from 2000-2004; Nevada Tax Commission representing agriculture, in the late 1990s and early 2000s; the Board of Agriculture for the State of Nevada from 2008 to 2011; Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Integrated Planning Commission representing White Pine County. He was on the negotiating team representing the state of Utah for a bi-state water agreement.
Dean was awarded the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association Cattleman of the Year, 2002. He also won numerous other ranching and land stewardship awards.
One of Dean’s passions was flying. He started flying at age 16 and continued throughout his life. He got a commercial license in the 1980s and did crop-dusting for farms in the area. He also flew to many meetings and to look at water and cattle on his ranch.
Dean was an unofficial spokesperson on the water issue in Snake Valley, talking with reporters from all over the world. He also spent time giving water tours, helping the Great Basin Water Network, and lobbying the Nevada Legislature to help protect rural water resources.
He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Carl. He is survived by his wife Barbara, children Chris Robinson of Palo Alto, CA; and Dave (Tana), Craig (Gretchen), and Tom (Janille) of Baker, NV; step-sons Gary (JoAnn) Perea of Baker, NV and Dennis (Marci) Perea of Las Vegas, NV; and 18 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held June 24 in Baker, NV at the Baker Ranch cookhouse.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Great Basin Water Network.