OBITUARY: James J. Baird
December 28, 2011Former Insituform SE president and CEO James J. Baird Jr., 80, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 27.
He was born Jan. 22, 1931, in Fairfield, Ala., and he grew up in Bessemer, Ala. He graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn) in 1954 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. At Auburn, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Omicron Della Kappa honorary fraternity and Spades. He was active in student government, serving as student body president in 1953. He received a commission through Army ROTC and served on active duty at Fort Campbell, Ky., attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He was a long-time employee of Sullivan, Long & Hagerty in Bessemer and retired as president and CEO of lnsituform SE in 1997, before moving to Auburn.
Baird was an elder in the Presbyterian Church USA and a member at First Presbyterian In Auburn. He served as Building Committee Chairman during the renovation of the sanctuary and building of the Chapel, Student Center and the multi-purpose building, which was named Baird Hall in his honor. An active member of Auburn Rotary Club, he served as president and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also active at the state level in Rotary. In Auburn, he served on the Water Works Board, East Alabama Food Bank Board and was a volunteer during the construction of Hickory Dickery Park. He was also a master gardener and an avid woodworker. He was a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association, a Golden Eagle and a long-time supporter of Auburn athletics. After moving to Auburn, he received an appointment to the College of Science and Mathematics Advisory Board.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jean Carol Reeves; two daughters, three grandchildren, a brother, as well as a nephew and niece. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be given to First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, East Alabama Food Bank or the James J. Baird Jr. Scholarship Fund in c/o the Auburn University Foundation.