Richard Baker, son of Baker Publishing Group’s founder Herman Baker and former president and chairman of the publishing house, died December 12. He was 86.

Baker’s career started as a boy sweeping floors at Baker Book House, which his father opened as a used bookstore in 1939. Baker went on to work in sales and helped expand the business into publishing before serving as president of the company from 1987-1997. During that time, Baker doubled in size with the acquisitions of two publishers, Fleming H. Revel and Chosen Books. The imprints remain at Baker today, along with divisions Bethany, Baker Academic, Brazos Press, and the retail store. After stepping down as president in 1997, Baker continued to interact with staff and employees at the Baker Book House store, according to a press release from the publisher.

Baker is survived by his wife Frances and their four children, including current Baker Publishing Group president, Dwight Baker.

Baker Publishing stated that “employees, business affiliates, and family are saddened by the loss of Richard Baker and will miss his leadership and his great love for the publishing industry.” The Baker family said in a statement that they have “been blessed by many years of Richard’s fatherly love, ever-present humor, and enduring commitment to the Christian faith.”

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