SRS Heading Logo

In Memoriam—Clive Baker

Clive Baker

Dr. Cleve Boardman Baker peacefully passed away at the St John's Retirement Village on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. He was 85 years old.

Born on February 22, 1935 at Children's Hospital, Cleve was the oldest of three beloved sons born to Mr. & Mrs. Harry L. Baker, Jr. of San Francisco. He was raised in the Richmond District of San Francisco, attended Madison Elementary School and graduated from the 8th grade at Town School for Boys. His passion for learning was ignited during his high school years at the Webb School in Claremont, CA. He went on to get a B.S. degree in Fresh Water Biology from Stanford University with a minor in East Asian Studies. After graduation in 1957, Cleve studied medicine at Stanford School of Medicine. He completed an internship at Tuoro Infirmary in New Orleans, residency training at the Department of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine of Palo Alto and was the honored recipient of the Eugene M. Farber Award as a Senior Master of Dermatology from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Upon completion of his medical studies, Cleve entered the United State Air Force and served as an officer and physician at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. Throughout his years of education, Cleve found creative ways to supplement his income, including logging, pumping gas, building hog hutches and playing his first piano gigs at the Red Garter Saloon in San Francisco.

Cleve became a husband and family man after marrying his high school sweetheart, Deborah Dane, in 1959. When Cleve and Deborah moved to Woodland in 1966, their family grew to include 4 children. They led an active life dedicated to service in the community and were both proud to set roots in Woodland. Cleve built a Dermatology practice with the Woodland Clinic Medical Group that spanned 33 productive years. He loved caring for people and never begrudged the minutes spent with each and every patient. He was known for making house calls, visiting nursing homes and volunteering to support migrant health initiatives in Yolo County. Over the course of his medical career, Cleve also held teaching positions as a clinical instructor at Stanford School of Medicine and as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at University of California, Davis.

Cleve actively participated in the restoration and preservation of historic Woodland through his work with the Yolo County Historical Society, Stroll Through History and the Woodland Opera House. His love of history and Dixieland Jazz came together through his many years as bandmate and piano player with the Dixon Phirehouse Philharmonics.

After his divorce from Deborah, Cleve married Irene Hodges with whom he had a loving marriage for over 35 years until her passing in 2013. Together they enjoyed volunteering in the community, traveling, local social events, gardening, and spending time with family. They enjoyed an active social life with many local friends who also shared in their conviction to preserve the character of Woodland. Cleve was a lifelong learner, avid reader, and collector of books and music. He participated in jazz cruises, ragtime societies and attended jazz camps in New Orleans and San Diego annually. These gatherings were family reunions for Cleve….his cherished jazz family. He was fascinated by the history of music, its composers and how it played a role in the social history of the United States. Cleve had a broad range of musical interests, but he was inspired by the San Francisco Jazz Revival, particularly by the music of Lu Watters, Turk Murphy and Pete Clute. His music friends lovingly referred to him as "Doctor Jazz."

Cleve was an active member of The Rotary Club of Woodland for many years. He took pride in reading to children in the community, working in the Yolo County Fair booth and helping to eradicate Polio through Rotary programs. Friendships made in The Morning Chapter of Rotary enriched his life tremendously.

Cleve Baker is survived by his four children: son, Lyle Baker and daughters, Bonnie Armistead, Ginger Akil, and Elizabeth Baker. He will also be missed by his two younger brothers, Bruce and John Baker, formerly of San Fancisco, and by his five grandchildren. Cleve will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife, Irene, in a private ceremony at Monument Hill Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be conducted via Zoom at a later date.

Family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations in Cleve's name go to the following organizations:Woodland Opera House, P.O. Box 1425, Woodland, CA 95776 or donate online: SacJEF - Sacramento Jazz Education Foundation, PO Box 661763, Sacramento, CA 95866 or donate online: