Archive for Tuesday, August 24, 1999


August 24, 1999


A Kansas University student whose body was discovered Friday in the Kansas River was a hard worker, professors said Monday.

Aerospace engineering didn't come easy to Jarold Baker, a Kansas University student who apparently drowned in the Kansas River, but he always put his best foot forward, his professors said Monday.

Professor Saeed Farokhi taught Baker in the spring and last fall and described the 22-year-old as "very attentive and eager to learn."

What Baker might have lacked in natural abilities, he more than made up for in hard work, Farokhi said.

"He was not my best student but was very hard working and sincere," Farokhi said.

Baker stood as an example of a student who compensated for any academic shortcomings with simple dedication, the professor said.

Baker was a fifth-year engineering student at KU. His body was discovered Friday morning by a Bowersock Mills & Power Co. employee in the river behind city hall.

Douglas County sheriff's officials are waiting for dental records to confirm Baker's identity.

Lt. Don Crowe said records were being sent by Federal Express. A positive identification could come today, Crowe said.

Investigators have ruled out foul play but say they don't know how Baker ended up in the river. Crowe said they have Baker's whereabouts traced back to about 11 p.m. Aug. 17, when he left work at National Computer Systems, which is in the East Hills Business Park.

The student from Attica would have graduated in May 2000, engineering school records showed.

"It's a real loss," said Rick Hale, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering who taught Baker for two semesters. "He was a hard-working student, the kind who gave 100 percent."

Hale agreed that Baker had to work harder than some students to get through the aerospace program's tough classes.

"He definitely worked hard to accomplish what he accomplished," Hale said.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway offered condolences to the family.

Baker's funeral was Monday in Attica.

The son of John and Shirley Baker, Baker was a member of the United Methodist Church in Attica and was active in the Clinton Parkway Assembly of God Church in Lawrence. Baker was a member of the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.

Efforts Monday to reach Baker's family were unsuccessful.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is

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