Vale John Baker 1938 – 2021: Western Sydney veteran golfer

John Baker at the Complementary Medicines Association Gala Dinner in 2019 – photo supplied

John Baker was a well-known and popular figure in the lower Blue Mountains who loved playing in Western Sydney veteran golfer events and was actively involved as a delegate/organiser. Article by Noel Rowsell

John Baker was a well-known and popular figure in the lower Blue Mountains, having owned the Go Vita store in Springwood for the past 30 years with his wife Colleen.

He was also a long-term member of Springwood Country Club and the club’s delegate to the Western Sydney Region Veterans Golfers Association (WSRVGA).

John passed away peacefully on Tuesday 10th August at the age of 83, with his family at his side

Springwood CC member Walter Brown recalls John fondly.

“I have known John for around 20 years and he was a very special man,” said Walter.

“Father to a large and close family of 7 children and his lovely wife Colleen.

“A proud and active local businessman with his Go Vita Health Foods.

“John was actively involved with several local charities and was instrumental in the annual Springwood Community Hospital charity day. He would not take no for an answer when raising prizes and funds and on many occasions, a charity day would raise more than $20,000.

“On the many occasions, John was approached to sponsor or assist local charities and he had no hesitation in supporting the cause. He and Go Vita were long term sponsors of our golf club.

“John was not a natural golfer but loved playing the game and was an exceptional after-golf card player. I can fondly remember him playing golf and cards at least 3 times a week in his late seventies and whilst he may lose money at golf, he certainly recouped his finances in the card games!

“John loved playing with Western Sydney Vet’s and again, was actively involved as a delegate/organiser.

“On a personal note, I loved John for his unrivalled passion to complete everything he was involved in, particularly at his age.

“Whether he was playing for a $10 lotto ticket, he would always try his hardest. I fondly remember him shouting ‘You Beauty’ when he would sneak in a 20ft putt for a 8/1 on par fives with 2 shots. Even when the group of 4 were playing bad on a cold and wet day, the other three would want to stop golf but not John, even when he was playing badly.

“However, he would always turn down a game of cards when his family or grandkids were around (and so he should)

“John was always in the mix of conversation and had a very educated opinion.

WSRVGA President Les Knox said “On behalf of all veteran golfers could I express our deepest sympathy and condolences to John’s family.”

“John was a long-time member of the WSRVGA, was the driving force behind Springwood veteran golfers and was also Tournament Organiser when Springwood hosted Inter-Club events within the WSRVGA.

“John will be sorely missed by all. Through his infectious banter, he had that special gift of bringing a smile to your face, whether on the golf course, in Golf meetings or during casual meetings.

John was also hugely successful in his business life and was recognised and lauded at the annual Gala Dinner of the Complementary Medicine Association (CMA) as recently as 2019.

At that dinner, John was presented with the distinguished ‘Lady Cilento’ award, the complementary medicine industry’s most prestigious award.

At the dinner, John had said “I am a member of the board and was utterly shocked at being recognised! The board kept it completely secret from me and I was so surprised when Carl (CEO Carl Gibson) called my name!”

Mr Gibson said “John is a stalwart of the industry, a true gentleman, who has often put our industry before his own business, and sometimes his health. He is a true unsung hero.”

John officially retired from CMA as a Director at the Gala Dinner in 2019, having dedicated nine years on the Board. He was the Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee and Treasurer, having previously served as Vice President and President.

John oversaw the transition from the Nutritional Foods Association; the merger with the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the move to Canberra and helped develop the Industry Code of Practice and its complaints handling procedures.

“Countless times, John has come to Canberra to clarify and ameliorate challenges at CHC and in Parliament and during his latest term of office, as a Director, the successful launch of CMA,” said Mr Gibson.

“The CMA is in a much stronger financial position today because of John’s selfless dedication and incredible sense of duty,” said Mr Gibson.

“The Association has gone from strength to strength, because of John’s tight hold on the Association’s purse strings and his absolute ability to have his finger on the pulse of the issues that mattered to our consumers.”

VALE – John Baker 1938-2021

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