Norman Baird

Obituary of Norman Baird

Baird, Rev. J. Norman After a long life of devoted service to his Lord Jesus Christ, the Rev. J. Norman Baird of Orillia passed away peacefully on May 31st surrounded by his loving family. He was in his 89th year. Norman impacted thousands of lives over a remarkable sixty years in Christian ministry. Born on March 10, 1936, to parents John and May Baird in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Norman lost his father at 15 years of age, leaving school to help support his family and apprenticing as a baker. At 18, he made a lifelong commitment to Christ and his service. He discovered a new passion for learning and the study of theology and the Scriptures, and he returned to complete his education, eventually earning a Master of Divinity degree. On a summer mission at the seaside town of Largs, Scotland, Norman met another Christian volunteer, Frances MacFie. They were married in June, 1964, the start of an amazing 60-year partnership in Christian ministry. In 1970, Norman and Frances felt strongly that God was calling them to Canada. With their two-year-old son, Justin, they embarked on the Empress of Canada and arrived a week later in Montreal, relying on God for guidance in this new Canadian adventure. Over the next three decades, Norman ministered with great love and dedication to congregations at Winchester Baptist Church (1970-1974); First Baptist Church, Orillia (1974-1978); St. George Baptist Church in St. George, NB (1979-82); Fair Havens Community Church in Beaverton (1982-1987); Marchmont Baptist Church (1988-1992); and a second time at First Baptist Church, Orillia (1992-1996). In the ensuing years, he served in churches across Ontario as an interim pastor and guest preacher, delivering his last sermon only six months ago at Orillia Baptist Church. As all who knew him can attest, Norman was a person of rare goodness and integrity. He was an outstanding preacher who spoke with great passion and forcefulness from the pulpit. The key to a good sermon, he would always say, was not only the preparation of the material but also the preparation of the preacher. The power of his preaching came from the depths of his own experience and the authenticity of his own faith journey. Yet Norman was not just a teaching pastor. He excelled at the lost art of visitation and devoted hours to counselling and praying with those he pastored. He loved his congregations, and they loved him back. Norman had a very warm personality. He liked to laugh, even at his own expense, and enjoyed making other people laugh (he had a weakness for ridiculous-looking hats and wigs). He was extremely friendly and approachable. He took a genuine, caring interest in everyone he met. His sons can testify that he was a gentle and loving father. He greatly enjoyed time with his boys, whether talking politics, playing golf, or watching the Leafs. Nothing brought a wider smile to his face than telling or hearing a new story about his granddaughters, Ella and Maia. Norman is survived by his wife, Frances, his sons Justin (Michelle) and Calvin (Jill) and his granddaughters Ella and Maia. He will be sadly missed by brothers Bryce (Doreen), Maurice (Sandra, deceased) and Kenneth (Olive). A visitation will be held at the Simcoe Funeral Home, 38 James Street E. Orillia on Friday June 7th from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the Cornerstone Baptist Church, 265 Coldwater Road W. Orillia on Saturday June 8th, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception. Private family interment Marchmont Baptist Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made, if desired, to Mercy Ships or World Vision. Messages of condolence are welcomed at