LaRoy Baird


LaRoy Baird, 75, died on May 21, 2024, at his home after a recent cancer diagnosis. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date with information forthcoming soon.

LaRoy Baird, III was born in Minneapolis, MN, on August 11, 1948, to LaRoy Baird, Jr. and Audrey (Larson) Baird. He spent his early years in Richfield, MN, and then moved with his family to Dickinson, ND, his father’s hometown, where his parents operated the Dickinson Abstract Co. and his father served as the Stark County Judge. He graduated from Dickinson High School in 1966 and went on to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology.

While in high school, LaRoy met Mary Ann Carlson, whom he married on August 22, 1969. After LaRoy obtained his degree, he and Mary moved to Bismarck where LaRoy was employed as a Burleigh County Sheriff’s Deputy, and later as a forensic chemist at the North Dakota State Lab. In 1975, LaRoy and Mary moved to Wilton, ND, where Mary accepted a teaching position. LaRoy often said the years he lived in Wilton were among the very best times of his life. There he and Mary became active in the community, with LaRoy being elected Wilton City Judge and city commissioner. Some of the very best friends he ever had in the world hailed from his Wilton days and he often spoke fondly of them all, and their many adventures together, some of which he acknowledged might be better left untold! In 1977, hoping to carry on the tradition of his grandfather and father by becoming an attorney, he entered the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND, where he obtained his Juris Doctorate in 1980.

On January 31, 1975, his son Jesse David was born and shortly thereafter, on May 23, 1976, a daughter, Ondine Elizabeth (“Dina”) joined the family. LaRoy was enormously proud of his children. He devoted a tremendous amount of time to their school, sports, and music activities, never missing a teacher/parent conference, band concert, choral performance, piano or dance recital, or soccer game. He coached soccer and was a certified referee. He was very proud that both of his children graduated from college in his home state, the University of Minnesota.

LaRoy was well known and well respected in the legal field, practicing in Downtown Bismarck for nearly forty years. He was known by his colleagues as a “street lawyer” for fighting on behalf of people who most needed legal guidance. He held the indigent defense and juvenile defense contracts for years. He was heavily involved in the farm crisis of the 1980’s and brought many a banker to heel in favor of saving North Dakota family farms. He continued his bankruptcy practice throughout his entire career helping thousands of families retain their financial dignity. When the Gulf Wars began, LaRoy quietly did free estate planning and other legal needs for members of the armed forces. When his acts of what he considered his American duty were leaked to the press, he refused to take any public accolades for his work. He helped organize the “Run for Justice” fundraiser for the State Bar Association which helped fund the pro bono program. His friends at the State Bar office could always count on LaRoy to take on pro bono cases that no one else would touch – they knew his heart was too big to say no.

LaRoy was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, due in no small part to the work he did and the people he grew to know and love over this life. He volunteered for the Democratic Non-Partisan League, serving as State Party Treasurer as well as treasurer of District 8 Democrats. He and Mary were elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1996.

LaRoy credited his time spent growing up in Western North Dakota for developing his love of the outdoors. There was nothing he loved more than pheasant hunting with his son and friends “up Wilton way” on the Sawicki farm every fall. LaRoy was notoriously known for being accident prone – one time even being shot in the face, and living to tell the tale, while out in the field. One bb remained implanted in his cheek for the rest of his days – being visible on his x-rays and raising many questions by his doctors. LaRoy’s trips to Alaska for salmon and halibut fishing were some of his favorite vacations. While he usually traveled with Jesse, he also convinced Mary to make the trip one time – but when she out-fished him at every turn, she was never invited again (her heart was not broken). LaRoy had many other hobbies he dedicated his time to including gardening, wood carving, stained glass work, and stamp, coin, rock and fossil collecting. He and Dina enjoyed going on dinosaur fossil digs all over the state. LaRoy was involved in the Downtown Business Association, helping organize and bring the Downtowners Rip Roarin’ RibFest to town. He helped work on a stained-glass mural with artist and dear friend Dawn Kopp, which hangs outside the Brick Oven Bakery on 4th Street.

LaRoy and Mary loved to travel, taking many family vacations to Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Grand Cayman. When his son moved to Cape Coral, Florida, he and Mary often spent a few winter months there every year. He loved to have others join in on the fun, with many grandchildren, nieces, family and friends staying with them. Much laughter, lots of good food, and not a few hijinks were enjoyed during those lazy gulf vacations. LaRoy and Mary also loved to camp, whether locally at Sibley Park or out at Cottonwood Campground in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. The tales of “Campers A” and “Campers B” and other outdoor summer weekends were legendary.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Audrey and LaRoy, Jr.; his mother-in-law and father-in-law Cathy and Denis Carlson; his cousin Roberta Baird Senn and her husband, LaRoy’s great friend and law school study buddy David Senn; his cousins Roiann Baird and Roger Larson; sister-in-law Alice Carlson Johnson and brother-in-law Douglas Carlson; his favorite brother-in-law, Deny Carlson; and several aunts and uncles.

His survivors include his wife of nearly 55 years, Mary, his son Jesse and wife Jodell; his daughter Dina and her husband Joe Puhalla; his precious grandchildren, Jordan, Bailee, Lilly, Wyatt and Emma; his siblings John (Kim), David (Judy Deutsch), and Ellen Baird Getz (Mike); his brother-in-law Robert Carlson (Paul Gehl); and, several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Plant a tree, garlic, or his favorite flower, wild pansies (“johnny jump-ups”) in memory of LaRoy. Monetary memorials may be made to the State Bar Association of North Dakota, Guardian and Protective Services of Bismarck, or the donor’s choice.

Goodnight, Sweet Prince!  And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.


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I was saddened to read that LaRoy passed away. We were friends since the late 1970’s and took part in many legal and social adventures for many decades. Condolences to Mary and the family.

So sorry that LaRoy has passed away. He was a good friend and my lawyer when I lived in Bismarck. LaRoy was a stalwart Dem-NPLer. He was a wonderful person and will be sorrily missed by all who knew him. Jayne and I extend our deepest sympathy to Mary and their family.

So sorry Mary and families that LaRoy has passed. Wonderful man he was. Great lawyer. Our deepest sympathy.

What a fine boy, LaRoy was, when I became his “big brother” in august 1963. He was 16 and I was 18 years old, and he taught me a lot about the American way. Since I was a foreign exchange student of the American Fields Service organization and scheduled to stay for a whole year in the Baird-home in Dickinson.
LaRoy played in the school orchestra and what a joy it was to see and hear him play. The best was taking the two dogs out for a run in the fields outside Dickinson. There he taught me about the American Way of Life.
Sorry to have to leave the Baird family in 1964, but we kept in contact in 1984 and 2004, when I came to visit – and stayed at their wonderful home in Bismarck.
May you rest in peace, young brother …

Deepest sympathy to LaRoy’s family. I was saddened to learn of his death. He was a fine lawyer and a friend to all. He will be missed by all who had the honor of knowing him.

Oh Mary, I was so shocked and saddened to see this–I LOVED working for LaRoy -he was just the best. I am so sorry for this huge loss in your family. Please accept my condolences and prayers.

What a beautiful life he lived with his beautiful wife and family. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing. He was such a nice man. May you all find peace with the beautiful memories and love you will forever have for your angel. RIP LaRoy.

Our condolences to LaRoy’s wife and family. Re was a welcome addition to the Bar of North Dakota, dedicated and a gentleman. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

May his memory be eternal!

So sorry to hear that LaRoy passed away. He gave countless hours of his time representing youth in need for many year in Juvenile Court. Truly a gentleman with a big heart. Rest in peace LaRoy.

Just today I came across a class photo from 1960, 6th grade, and LaRoy is in it. He is part of many good memories of my childhood. I could never rise above “First 2nd clarinet” in the DHS band – because LaRoy was forever a better player than me so he was “First 1st”! He was calm, funny, smart and good. So sorry for Mary and the family.

Very sad news indeed. LaRoy was one of a kind, a great friend and colleague. Knowing him enriched my life. Our condolences to the family.

How do you thank a wonderful professional, who is modest, and kind: Who gives you deep advice, and looks at you and your group, with a look like you may not listen. But hearing his voice; and remembering how serious he was,, you do listen:

LaRoy, will be missed and always remembered; as a beautiful person, beyond your professional title. Our deepest sympathy to your lovely family, And the last time we had an office visit, you were his last subject to be spoken of.

You were deeply loved , by him, and never forgotten by anyone.

My condolences to Mary, and to Jesse and Dina and their families. LaRoy was a rearkable man, always pleasant and interestig to visit with. He will definately be missed.