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Sid Baron

May 13, 1930 March 24, 2019
Sid Baron
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Obituary for Sid Baron

Sidney “Sid” Baron entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on March 24, 2019. Sid was born Sietze Baron in the village of Opende in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands on May 13, 1930 to Jeen (James) Baron and Aafke (Alice) Hoekstra Baron. The family included Elisabeth (Betty) Steiger (deceased), Henk (Henry) Baron, Griet (Greta) Baker and Marijke (Mary) Chenoweth. Arriving in Lynden in 1948, Sid met and married Margaret Tjoelker, the love of his life and faithful companion for 69 years before her death on June 21, 2018.

His childhood years spent during the Nazi occupation proved to be very influential as he participated with his family in harboring a Dutch Underground leader sought by the occupiers and Nazi sympathizers. His strong, unwavering sense of justice and integrity as well as his canny business dealings can be linked to these early, powerful experiences. He relayed this in his book “The Way It Was: Growing Up in Wartime Holland.”

The newly married couple Sid and Margaret Baron established a small dairy farm near Custer and began raising their family which grew to include four sons and two daughters. Ever enterprising, Sid sold Raleigh Products door to door to supplement the farm income, and began repairing the newly invented television sets in his garage. His lifelong interest in radio, television and the latest technologies may be traced to the family’s clandestine radio used during the war to listen to the BBC. The TV repair business grew into Baron’s TV in Lynden in the mid-1950s and the end of his dairy farming days. This enterprise expanded into a background music manufacturing business, then a radio station (KLYN-FM, now Praise 106.5), then Lynden Travel Agency managed by his lifelong friend Rook VanHalm, then Baron Telecommunications, an early provider of business telephone systems.

KLYN-FM was a strong passion for him and he greatly enjoyed broadcasting political discussions and interviews with elected officials. A lifelong committed member of the Christian Reformed Church, Sundays on the radio station were given over to broadcasting sacred music without commercials. At the age of 42 he contracted Multiple Sclerosis and experienced temporary vision loss and difficulty walking. With four children still at home and concerned about providing for his family, his career took a major turn. The radio station was sold and retail business closed and he formed a real estate development partnership called Exxel Development. Working initially with partner Mike Hollander, he developed numerous properties including motels, apartment buildings and housing developments. Without any construction experience, he started Exxel Pacific construction with Kevin DeVries who began working with Sid shortly after graduating from college. With talented young construction managers and Sid’s negotiating and financial skills, the company grew to be one of the largest privately owned construction companies in the state building numerous high rise projects in Seattle and far beyond. With this Sid built, owned and managed several motels and a senior facility Meadow Greens in Lynden as well as several other business ventures.

His MS was a constant presence with hand pain and discomfort with heat. But following the treatment of Dr. Roy Swank, it did not prove debilitating, nor did it dim his sense of humor. He became well known for elaborate and creative practical jokes and one of the greatest pleasures of his life was recounting the stories of his pranks to others with hilarious laughter. He documented his battle with MS and his commitment to deal with this disease with humor in his book “Just Laugh About It.”

Watching air battles overhead during the war also led to his passion for flying. He purchased his first plane well before he could afford it, which led him to form the Lynden Flying Club. He flew his Cessna 182, “Six Eight Mike,” until late in life and it remains a part of the Exxel Pacific fleet of planes and helicopters. Flying in the Learjet used by Exxel Pacific to travel to distant projects was a satisfying reward for his many business ventures.

Sid and Margaret enjoyed over 55 cruises together. Children, grandchildren and many friends and relatives were beneficiaries of their great generosity in sharing these memorable experiences. Their generosity extended in many directions including supporting the Baron Theater in Opende, the Netherlands, recognizing the role of Sid’s father in establishing a now world famous musical group, Crescendo. It also included helping found New Way Ministry supporting young mothers for which Margaret provided committed leadership. Many individuals and organizations including Lynden Christian Schools have benefited from Sid and Margaret’s prosperity and generosity. Beyond financial gifts, he contributed to his community and nation in many ways. For nearly 30 years he, with his daughter Julie, spoke at Victim Impact Panels to those convicted of driving while under the influence, reliving the personal anguish of experiencing the near loss of his daughter to a drunk driver in 1987.

Legacy was a great interest of Sid Baron and the greatest legacy beyond his family is the investment he made in the lives of a number of young men. He served as a mentor and guide to many who worked for him and his commitment to his faith and principles of integrity, honesty, and fair dealing are reflected in the words and successful careers of many of those whose lives he touched.

Sid Baron is survived by siblings Henry (Ruth) Baron, Greta Baker and Mary (Ray) Chenoweth; brothers-in-law Ray (Gert) Tjoelker, Art (Phyllis) Tjoelker, sister-in-law Jean (Tony) Kortus; his six children, Jim (Laurie) Baron, Gerald (Lynne) Baron, Ron (Natalie) Baron, Alan (Debby) Baron, Kaye Lynn Baron and Julie (Grant) Kroontje; and 14 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at North County Christ the King Church in Lynden on Friday, March 29 at 11:00 am. Visitation at Gillies Funeral Home in Lynden from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Memorials in his honor may be to New Way Ministry in Lynden or Lynden Christian School.

You are invited to share your memories and condolences in the online guest book at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

28

Mar

5:00 PM 3/28/2019 5:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 3/28/2019 7:00:00 PM
Gillies Funeral Home

202 Front Street
Lynden, WA 98264

Gillies Funeral Home
202 Front Street Lynden 98264 WA
United States

Service

Friday

29

Mar

11:00 AM 3/29/2019 11:00:00 AM
North County Christ the King Community Church

1816 18th Street
Lynden, WA 98264

North County Christ the King Community Church
1816 18th Street Lynden 98264 WA
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Monumenta Cemetery Final Resting Place

1980 Front Street
Lynden, WA 98264

1980 Front Street Lynden 98264 WA
United States
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