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Senator Baker Memories

Women's Initiative Newsletter

Mourning the loss of Senator Howard Baker, friends and colleagues shared memories in remembrance of his life and legacy.

Jenna Bedsole, Shareholder
Birmingham, Alabama
In the 1970s, a man came home to his wife and two young children – a little boy and girl. The man told his wife he had an opportunity – an opportunity for a better life for his family – but it would mean leaving their families and the country they loved. He took a job in this foreign land – the United States – but there was a problem with their green cards. It was taking too long. The company was headquartered in Nashville. Its owner placed a call to one of the Tennessee Senators and asked for help. Senators get these types of requests all of the time – help with a passport, help with a governmental agency. They are not big problems and don't usually take much time to resolve. With the Senator's help the problem was soon solved and the young family moved to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Nashville, Tennessee. In thirty-plus years, the children grew up. The little girl became a lawyer and now works for the firm of the Senator who helped her family come to this great country. Thank you, Senator Baker, for the big things you did and also the small ones. You will be missed.

Christy Crider, Shareholder
Nashville, Tennessee
When I was a very young lawyer in the late 1990s, I listened to Senator Baker give a talk on why every person and company in this country is entitled to excellent legal representation. His ability to articulate the legal support for his position combined with his ability to weave compassion through his message is something I have carried with me through my legal career. When I think about combining excellent lawyering, straightforward logic, a sense of responsibility for the oath we took as lawyers, and kindness toward our adversaries, I think of Senator Baker.

Angela Farmer, Receptionist
Washington D.C.
I have worked at Baker Donelson for 16 years and Senator Baker was one of the reasons why. He has ALWAYS been kind to me – gifting me with many of his photographs and more. The biggest gift of all was when he invited me to The White House to witness his swearing in to become Ambassador to Japan! What a wonderful human being he was. Of course, there are many wonderful stories and memories he has left with me, but this one is very dear to my heart.

Linda Finley, Shareholder
Atlanta, Georgia
Senator Baker came to Atlanta for a forum with former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Presidential Library. Having not met Senator Baker prior to the forum, I just wanted to shake his hand. I was certain he would have no idea who I was. I introduced myself thinking I would just move along the receiving line. Instead, he grasped my hand and told me he had heard about how I was building a residential mortgage practice in the firm and that he appreciated what he called "my vision." He shared some other words of wisdom that I continue to hold dear. I was flabbergasted that he would know my name, much less the particulars of my practice. I was honored that such a great man would take a few minutes to encourage me and I will treasure the guidance he gave me that evening. I am saddened by this great loss to our firm.

Donna Fraiche, Shareholder
New Orleans, Louisiana
I remember when Senator Baker and Lewie Donelson came to New Orleans some months after we opened that office and while I was Chair of the World Trade Center in New Orleans. Senator Baker kindly agreed to give a lecture to the crème de la crème of the community, whereupon I had the privilege of introducing him. He was as bright and spry a leader as I had ever met. I asked Senator Baker with whom did he wish to dine, and, gracious to a fault, asked if I could invite his dear and old friend (now deceased) Ambassador Lindy Boggs whom he knew well from days in D.C. when her deceased husband, Speaker of the House Hale Boggs, officed next door to his father in the Capitol. In a private dining room at Antoine's I learned more about the history of the U.S. and our forbearers than any history lesson I ever attended. Some months later, Katrina struck and the Japanese Consulate (the oldest in New Orleans) had to be relocated to Nashville. The Consul General, through the intercession of Senator Baker, was influential in having me appointed as the Honorary Consul General of Japan at New Orleans. Needless to say, that position has changed my life and my diplomatic experience to that point in my life. I was honored and mentored by Senator Baker and his dear friends thereafter about proper protocol and the relationship with our Japanese ally. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to have known a truly great leader, the former Ambassador of Japan, who was one of the most remarkable people I have ever known. He will be missed. Our world was a better place because he was in it. My world has become a better place because of his influence and assistance to me.

Susan Rich, Shareholder
Chattanooga, Tennessee
As "important" as he was, Senator Baker was always a "firm first" guy. He never hesitated to help any one of us – no matter how large or small the issue. He would come to client meetings to help. He would advise on how best to handle situations and would make himself available for any opportunity the firm might have with friends and clients. He was down-to-earth and approachable and cared about the firm and the firm's clients. He was all about service.

Learn more about the life of Senator Howard Baker.

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