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Laurie Shedd Baker, mental health advocate was also a longtime volunteer

July 25, 1944 – Sept. 12, 2016

Laurie Shedd Baker, a mental health advocate, died Sept. 12 from congestive heart failure at Mercy Hospital. She was 72.

The former Laurie Shedd was born in Rochester and moved to Buffalo in 1965.

She earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, and another in early childhood development from Trocaire College.

She worked for a few years as a nursery school teacher at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Clarence.

Mrs. Baker’s volunteer efforts included serving as president and as a board member of the Leukemia Society, and as the vice chairwoman and as a board member of the Mental Health Association of Erie County.

Mrs. Baker received benefactor awards from both organizations, and the Compeer Western New York Vision Award.

“Laurie Baker was a truly wonderful woman, a dear friend and a tireless advocate for the cause of mental health,” said Kenneth Houseknecht, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Erie County.

“She was a ‘happy warrior,’ unrelenting in her efforts to promote well-being, combat stigma and find better ways to support individuals and families dealing with a mental health challenge.”

Mrs. Baker’s hobbies included spiritual reading and practice, and traveling.

Mrs. Baker was a longtime resident of Orchard Park. Survivors include her husband of 51 years, Thomas E. Baker; a daughter, Jennifer A. Haley; a son, Thomas E. Jr.; and three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday in St. John Vianney Church, Orchard Park.

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