John Ernest William Baay, M.D.

John Ernest William Baay, M.D.
John Ernest William Baay, M.D.

On Saturday, March 13, 2021, John Ernest William Baay, M.D., loving husband and father of four, passed away at the age of 88.  John, “Jan” to his Dutch parents, was born in Mexico City on June 24, 1932, to Pieter and Johanna (Lührs) Baay.  At the age of 13, without speaking any English, they sent him to The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, where he graduated cum laude in 1949.  He graduated from Princeton University in 1953 and from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1957.  He completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Duke University and continued his general surgery residency at Hartford Hospital where he met and fell in love with Nancy Burton Middlebrook.  They were married on his birthday, June 24, 1961, and a year later, with a three-week old baby, headed to Houston to complete his Cardiothoracic surgical training with DeBakey and Cooley. In 1963, they moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he began his surgical practice and added two more children to the family.  In 1971, the family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where his fourth child was born.  There, he proudly became a U.S citizen and faithfully served the people of the Panhandle until he retired in 2002.  He regularly attended First Presbyterian Church and enjoyed playing bridge, quail and pheasant hunting and snow skiing  He never missed a summer on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.  On the lake, he rowed every day, sailed his Hobie Cat and visited with life-long friends and the growing families of his four children.  Papa is survived by Nan, his wife of almost 60 years; his four children: Johnny, married to GiGi (Mills); Peter, married to Laura (Helmus); Amy, married to Chris Rodgers; and David, married to Berklee (Beakley); his 13 grandchildren: Will, Madeline, Stephen, Maggie, Andy, Brooks, Davis, Gray, Bo, Benjamin, Bradley, Andrew and Louis; his three great-grandchildren: Sebastian, Sarah and Lucille; and his dog, Ruby, who was always at his side.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 19, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation in support of the GROW Across Generations Capital Campaign at First Presbyterian Church at 1100 S. Harrison St, Amarillo, TX 79101.  GROW Across Generations Capital Campaign

10 Replies to “John Ernest William Baay, M.D.”

  1. He was a fine man in every way and a wonderful doctor won’t be forgotten love to all family along with prayer
    And from VReeves

  2. Sharon and I were deeply saddened to learn of John’s passing. John was an extraordinary man of many interests and talents. I always enjoyed his quick and informed wit. Over decades, the prospect of renewing our friendship with John and Nancy was always a highlight to Sharon, our son, Daryn, and me spanning years of visits to Amarillo and a variety of other locations and circumstances. We are grateful for our friendship and wish Nancy and all the other members of the family our deepest sympathy and peace.

  3. Dear Baay family,

    Jim and I are deeply saddened by John’s passing. We will miss watching John breaking speed records sailing and rowing on Squam. We are holding you in our prayers and hearts.

    Carol and Jim Tompkins

  4. So sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was always so sweet and helpful when I was at your house for anything. Don’t know where you are now, but we are in Sun City in Georgetown, Texas. Hope you are still painting. So sorry about your losing such a sweet and smart man. Rare combination.

  5. I feel so blessed to have known this outstanding thoracic surgeon, scholar, family man and gentleman. John lit up any room that he walked into with his famous smile. He treated all of his patients with the utmost dignity and respect. We share lovely memories of Squam Lake and the call of the loons. My sincere condolences to Nancy and the children! ❤️

  6. Dear Nancy, How sad, just heard from Allen the news about John´s passing. Throughout the years, as you know, we kept a close friendship although only were able to get together on a few occasions, however they were memorable You were an extraordinary couple, an example to you children, grandchildren as well as to your many friends. He lived an extraoardinary life, may he rest in peace. Joanie and I send you and all the family our love,
    we will say aprayer for John on Friday. Bob Ransom

  7. Dr. Baay was such an inspiration to us all. So fortunate to have seen him and visit with him recently. Always upbeat, always walking the neighbourhood with his lovable dog Ruby; an incredible man. God bless wonderful Baay family. RIP Dr. Baay. Much love and prayers.

  8. Peter and family: just wanted to let you know how very sorry I am to see this. Your dad was so very helpful to our family members over the last 40 years. We were truly blessed by his skills, knowledge, compassion and understanding. He obviously passed it on to you Peter. God speed healing to you and your family.

  9. Nancy,
    I was saddened to hear about John’s passing. I enjoyed the years John was my Bridge partner at ASCA.
    Please accept and pass along my condolence to your dear family.
    I know John will be greatly missed by all that knew him.


    Bob Higby

  10. RIP Dr.Baay….You were a wonderful heart surgeon and did open heart surgery on my daughter when she was 7 yrs old at St. Anthonys and she is now 56 and has done well all these years. Thank you for all you did for all of your patients and families…Much love and many prayers to your family and friends

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