David 'Dutch' Baer, 89, sports devotee, IRS official, delegate

May 03, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

David "Dutch" Baer, founder of a charitable association and a man so devoted to sports that he took a basketball team along on his honeymoon, died Friday of a heart attack at Sunrise Assisted Living in Pikesville. He was 89.

Mr. Baer was an attorney and chief of delinquent collections in Maryland for the Internal Revenue Service, served in the House of Delegates in the 1930s and was a veteran of World War II.

But his first job and the source of his fondest memories was coaching softball and basketball as director of the Playground -- Athletic League, the Baltimore agency that oversaw games at Easterwood Park in Northwest Baltimore.

Mr. Baer grew up near Camden Yards. He dropped out of high school to take the PAL coaching job, but returned to school while working and received his diploma from City College in 1929.

He played on the 1925-1926 state high school championship basketball team, made the 1927-1928 All-Maryland team and played league soccer.

"Those were the happiest days of my life," Mr. Baer recalled in a 1958 interview with The Sun. "I can remember when I wouldn't set foot out of that 7- or 8-acre park for weeks at a time."

When he and Rebecca Charlotte Cohen married in 1931, the basketball team Mr. Baer coached had a weeklong series of games scheduled in Philadelphia. So the couple's honeymoon was a week of basketball in Philadelphia.

Mr. Baer earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1935, graduating at the top of his class. A year earlier, he had been elected to the House of Delegates from Baltimore's 4th District, where he served three years. He resigned to take a job with the IRS.

In World War II, Mr. Baer served as an Army counterintelligence agent, an assignment that required him to learn French and German. French had been his worst subject in school, but he surprised his former teacher with a letter describing the war's devastation in perfect French.

Mr. Baer returned to the IRS after being discharged from the Army in 1945. He became chief of delinquent collections for Maryland and retired in 1978.

During the 1950s, he founded Easterwood Park Boys Inc., a group of his former athletes, which later became a charitable organization.

Services will be held today at 11 a.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home at 8900 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Alexander Baer, and a daughter, Linda E. Baer, both of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 5/03/98

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