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Patient Art Teacher, self-taught skilled potter, kite maker and flyer, lover of 1949 Chevy trucks, tinkerer, animal lover, trail rider in the ND Badlands, fly tier and fly fishing enthusiast, wryly witty, kind, able to build or fix anything. All of these things describe William “Bill” Baron. Above all, he was a patient, loving father, husband and son; beloved brother, brother-in-law and uncle. Born to Richard Baron and Mariannne (Stebner) Baron on November 30, 1945.
He attended St. Joe’s Elementary school and Mandan High School where he graduated in 1963, but not before meeting Gail Toman, whom he married later in 1969 after graduating from the U. of ND with a BA degree in art education. He and Gail began teaching that year in Beloit, Wisconsin, where son Todd was born. They returned to Mandan in 1973 where Bill joined his father Dick in managing the Men’s Mart. Another son, Cory, was born that year and Bill continued working with his dad until he took a job at the NDSIS in Mandan teaching Art at the school for 3 years. In 1976 he began teaching Art at Bismarck High and Century High School where he developed a comprehensive arts curriculum that appealed to a wide variety of students.
He was gifted at finding and developing their individual talents, whether it was designing and sewing kites, making intricate jewelry, or teaching them drawing and painting. He could learn a new skill himself, and then quickly create a unit for his students, constantly reinventing his talents to engage his students. Many of them have gone on to become professional artists. He retired from teaching in 2006. When BIll was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2010, he and Gail began downsizing the pottery business and traveling more. In 2013, they bought a home in Victor, ID and moved in May of 2014 to be closer to their sons. Bill continued treatment for cancer through January of 2015 when it was determined there was no other recourse. He enjoyed a peaceful year in Teton Valley until his death at home on June 13, 2015. Bill was a member and supporter of BAGA and Pioneer Auto Club and the First Presbyterian Church; Cremation has taken place and a memorial celebration will be planned for the early fall of 2015, in Mandan.
He is survived by his wife Gail, Gail’s family; son, Todd and daughter-in-law, Wendi, Alpine WY; son, Cory, Seattle, WA; Francine Gmunder, Kaspar and daughter, Edda, Rothrist, Switzerland; sister, Nanette, Fargo, ND; brother, Skip and Claire, Mandan, and nephews, Casey, Minneapolis, and Kelly Baron, Mandan and many cousins. Communications may be sent to: PO Box 155, Victor, ID 83455.
Memorials may be sent to: Hands of Hope Hospice, 1379 E 17th St., Idaho Falls, ID 83404; Central Dakota Humane Society; Bismarck Arts and Galleries, or the charity of choice.
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