Obituary: Peter (Pete) Samuel Baum

Great grandfather, ULV hall of fame athlete, longtime Azusa educator, administrator

Peter Samuel Baum Jr. (Pete) was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on May 1, 1931, the same day that the Empire State Building opened. He died in La Verne on August 4, 2020 after a long illness. He was 89.

The only child of Peter S. Baum and Emma Mentzer, Pete lived in Pennsylvania until the age of 13 when he moved to Pomona with his mother.

His father died when Mr. Baum was 17, and he opted to stay in Pomona while his mother returned to Pennsylvania. He wanted to finish his senior year at Pomona High and was offered a room in the home of a family friend.

He excelled in both academics and athletics at Pomona High. In 1949 he graduated as the salutatorian of his class. He was the starting catcher on the Pomona High baseball team that went to the CIF semifinals and was named as the all-league catcher for the Citrus Belt League.

He went to La Verne College (now the University of La Verne) where he was a four year starting catcher on its baseball team. He also began as the P.A. announcer for football games, a post he held for 35 years. He is a member of the University of La Verne Athletics Hall of Fame. 

It was at La Verne that he met his future bride, Pat Jordan, who was born and raised in the Philippines. They were married on May 10, 1953, a few weeks before graduation.

He and his new bride went to South Dakota where he had earned an appointment as a graduate assistant in the department of sociology and social work at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

The US Army also wanted Mr. Baum. He was sent to language school and then served in Germany during his two years of military service.

Upon returning to civilian life in the fall of 1956 he was hired as a fourth grade teacher by the Azusa School District. He spent the next 33 years in the Azusa district as a teacher, assistant principal and middle school principal.

During this time, he and his family lived in Claremont. All four of the Baum children went to Claremont schools, with three graduating from Claremont High. 

When he retired, he and his wife Pat moved to St. George, Utah where they lived very happily until her death in 2008. Mr. Baum started skiing at age 65 while living in Utah and looked forward to the winters. For the next 12 years he and friends, known at Brian Head Mountain as “the St. George boys,” would go skiing two or three times each week. 

He returned to La Verne in 2012, living first in an apartment, then moving to Hillcrest Retirement Community in 2017.

He is survived by his sons Mark, Marty and Jay, who all live in Southern California, and daughter Joni Foulks, who lives in Virginia; grandchildren Jason and Casey Ritch, Jordan, Peter and Joseph Baum, Drew Foulks and Robyn “Tori” Dehart; eleven great grandchildren; daughters-in-law Linda Baum and Mary Baum; and son-in law Rob Foulks. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his name to the University of La Verne general scholarship fund at, click on “Give to La Verne.”

A memorial service is pending.


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