By Jacki Wood
After decades of service throughout the legal community in northwest Missouri, two Maryville attorneys are retiring this year.
Strong & Strong, PC, will host a reception celebrating the two retirees, David A. Baird and John W. Baker, Jr., from 2 to 4 pm, Thursday, December 9 at 124 East Third Street in Maryville.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to work in smaller communities where you know those with whom you interact – clients, judges, other attorneys, court personnel and law enforcement officers – on a personal and first-name basis,” Baird said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with people I admire and respect, to make a difference in the lives of people and to not only serve clients but serve the community through involvement on boards and in community activities.”
Baird grew up in Maryville and graduated from Maryville High School before attending the University of Notre Dame where he received an AB degree. He then went to law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated with a juris doctor degree.
He began his legal career as a staff attorney for Legal Aid of Western Missouri in St. Joseph and then worked in the Maryville office once it opened several months later and where he stayed until 1981 when he was appointed Nodaway County prosecuting attorney by the governor. He served in that capacity until 2010.
Baird was the Maryville city attorney from 1992 to 2006. He joined Strong & Strong in 2011 where his focus has been on family and juvenile issues, probate proceedings, estate planning and real estate. He also served as the Worth County prosecuting attorney from 2011 until 2016, the Fourth Circuit Juvenile Office attorney for several years and municipal court judge in several communities.
He and his wife, Carol, have two daughters, Cynthia Riker and husband David, Lexington, and Christina Nelson and husband Kyle Plackemeier, Liberty. They have five grandchildren, Connor, Claire, Luke, Augustus and Valkyrie.
Baird said he’s not sure what the next chapter in his life will bring but being around his grandchildren and attending their many activities will be a significant part of it.
Although he is looking forward to what comes next, he will miss the work and intellectual challenges of the legal profession.
“I have been blessed to spend my life doing something I enjoy immensely,” he said. “However, even more than that, I will miss the people, the friendships and the conversations with those with whom I have worked over the years.”
Baker is originally from St. Joseph and earned a BA in economics from Rockhurt College in 1971, an MBA in finance from UMKC in 1974, a juris doctorate from UMKC in 1977 and LLM in taxation in 1979.
He came to Maryville in 1977 to teach at Northwest Missouri State University where he taught business law, tax accounting and finance full-time until 2015 and part-time from 2016 to 2021.
He started his legal practice with Boland and McQuain in Kansas City in 1977 and then began with Strong & Strong in 1979 where his focus has been on tax preparation and transactions, estate planning and real estate.
Baker has also served as municipal judge for the city of Maryville since 1990.
He and his wife, Beth, have two daughters, Lisa in Florida and Amber in Springfield, who both have MBAs from Northwest Missouri State.
When asked what he’s enjoyed most about his years of practicing law in Northwest Missouri, Baker said, “dealing with the people.” He also said what he will miss the most in leaving the legal profession is the people.
Baker’s plans for retirement will be to “play golf, travel and spend time with grandkids.”