Photo providedDr. M Keith Baird (right) was a well respected and well liked alumnus and citizen.
Photo provided

Dr. M Keith Baird (right) was a well respected and well liked alumnus and citizen.
The Crawfordsville and Wabash College communities are mourning the passing of Dr. M. Keith Baird. Baird passed away Saturday.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that Dr. M. Keith Baird, Wabash Class of 1956, passed away this morning. The legendary campus physician was surrounded by his family when he died," Wabash College's Jim Amidon said in a wide-spread email Saturday."

Dr. Baird was a NASA physician during the height of the Apollo Space Program and was on board the rescue ship that brought the Apollo 13 astronauts home. He left NASA to return to Crawfordsville, where he had a flourishing family practice and served as Wabash's campus doctor for nearly three decades. Upon his retirement in 2000, he began volunteering his time to the Christian Nursing Service and its Well Baby and Adult Health clinics. His never-ending good cheer and selfless service to thousands of patients earned him the Montgomery County Community Foundation's Volunteer of the Year award in 2005. He was also a motivational force behind the establishment of the Montgomery County Free Clinic, which opened in July 2013.

"He certainly contributed to both the community and Wabash. It's a big loss to our community and he had just done so much over the years," said Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.

Baird was also known for his work in Kiwanis and as an avid radio control modeler.

If you have been to the Carnegie Museum in Crawfordsville, you might have looked in the corner on the first floor, directly across from the gift shop and saw the blue jump suit hanging there.

You couldn't help but notice the "NASA" patch and as you read you realized we had a real hero of America's space program in our midst.

The next time you watch the movie, "Apollo 13" think beyond Tom Hanks and remember one of Crawfordsville's own was on hand to welcome and treat the Apollo heroes when they returned from space.

Arrangements are pending at this time.

"He was a quintessential Wabash gentleman and Some Little Giant," wrote Amidon.