Charles Baird Dies In Sleep At Kansas City
Donor Of Carillon Was Former Athletic Director Of University
Charles Baird, University alumnus, first director of Michigan athletics, and donor of the Baird Carillon in the Burton Memorial Tower, was found dead in bed this morning at his home in Kansas City. He died of a heart attack. Mr. Baird, who was 74 years old, had long suffered from a heart ailment.
Word of his death was wired to former director of Athletics Fielding H. Yost today. Mr. Baird came to Ann Arbor for the Illinois-Michigan game and remained afterwards to visit Mr. and Mrs. Yost. He listened at the Yost home to the Ohio-Michigan game. He left Ann Arbor only last Tuesday to return to his home in Kansas City.
Mr. Baird came to the University as a student in the early nineties. His first connection with University athletic affairs was as a student manager of the football team. After hos graduation he became director of athletics.
He employed Fielding H. Yost as coach for the football team in 1900. About the same time he brought Keene Fitzpatrick here as track coach and trainer of the football team. That was the beginning of Michigan’s outstanding rise to leadership in intercollegiate football.
Retired In 1910
While Mr. Baird retired as athletic director in 1910, being succeeded by Philip Bartelme, he kept up his close contacts with the University. He came back frequently and was always present when the football team played.
The death of Mr. Baird leaves Mr. Yost as the last of the “Big Three” – Baird, Fitzpatrick, and Yost.
“I have had a close friendship with Charlie Baird for 44 years,” said Mr. Yost today. “He was a grand man, a great son of the University, a faithful follower of Michigan athletics and Michigan teams through thick and thin.”
Charles Baird gave the Baird Carillon of 51 bells to the University in 1935. It is one of the finest carillons in the world. His presentation of the carillon led to the erection of the Burton Tower to house it. The original carillon gift was $50,000 which was later increased to $70,000. The people of Ann Arbor through popular contributions made possible the completion of the tower.
Mr. Baird also gave to the University the fountain in the Mall, between Burton Tower and the Michigan League.
While Mr. Baird was student manager of the football team, his brother James was football captain. James Baird was the contractor who erected Martha Cook dormitory and the Law club.
Upon leaving the University, Mr. Baird went to Kansas City, Mo., where he engaged in banking. He retired some years ago. For a time several years ago he made his home in Ann Arbor but later returned to Kansas City. He spend much of his time here.
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