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Daniel Baker, Alex. Brown partner

After retiring from Alex. Brown & Sons, he managed Monkton farm

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

2:44 PM EDT, May 25, 2013

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Daniel Baker, a former general partner at Alex. Brown & Sons who headed the firm's institutional sales department and in retirement managed a family farm, died May 19 of cancer at his Ruxton home. He was 82.

"Dan was one of the true gentlemen in the investment business in Baltimore. He was highly respected by his colleagues and clients, and everyone liked and trusted him," said Joseph R. Hardiman, who was chief operating officer at Alex. Brown for 13 years and later was chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers. "When he gave you his word, you could trust him, and you knew you didn't have to worry."

Mr. Hardiman added that Mr. Baker's clients were both local and national in scope.

"Dan was a good friend, and his death is a loss for all who knew him," he said.

The son of a businessman and a horsewoman, Daniel Baker was born in Baltimore and raised at Manor Hill Farm, his family's Monkton farm.

After graduating from Gilman School in 1948, he enrolled at Princeton University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1952.

He served in the Army for two years and then returned to Baltimore in 1954, when he went to work in sales for Standard Lime and Refractories Co., which had formerly been Standard Lime and Stone Co., a family-owned business.

In 1954, the business was sold to American-Marietta Corp. and several years later was purchased by Martin Marietta Corp.

Mr. Baker made a career change in 1967 when he joined Alex. Brown & Sons. In 1976, he was made a general partner and headed the institutional sales department.

During his tenure, Alex. Brown & Sons grew from a regional to a national and international presence. He also helped take many companies public, including Loyola Federal Savings and Loan, Starbucks and Microsoft, said colleagues.

"He was a very important individual and executive at Alex. Brown. He was an integral part of that wonderful company," said Charles W. Cole Jr., former president and chief executive of First Maryland Bancorp, who later became chairman and chief executive of Legg Mason Trust.

"Danny was highly respected by all and we spent a lot of time talking about the intrinsic value of stocks. You could absolutely trust everything he said. He wasn't just out there trying to sell you something," said Mr. Cole. "He had tremendous credibility, and that is so important in the business world. He was incredibly trustworthy."

Floyd Lankford III, who worked with Mr. Baker at Alex. Brown, recalled when all clearing transactions were handled by hand and the staff met one day a week to complete the job.

"Danny was responsible for that clearing operation between Brown and Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co. and he was very good at it," said Mr. Lankford, who is now a broker with RBC LLC Wealth Management.

Mr. Lankford described his longtime friend as "very quiet, conservative and efficient. He was really a very lovely person."

Robert D. Hopkins is a partner at Brown Advisory Securities LLC. and a friend of many years.

"He was an incredible guy and they don't make them like that anymore," said Mr. Hopkins. "He was a true gentleman who always had a kind word."

After retiring in 1987, Mr. Baker managed the nearly 300-acre Manor Hill Farm that had been the home of his parents, Joseph Dill Baker Jr. and Susan Ellen Baker, since 1937.

In 2003, Mr. Baker's son, John Daniel Baker of Annapolis, succeeded his father as farm manager. Father and son converted Manor Hill Farm into a horse farm, renting three houses, stables and pastures to tenants.

The elder Mr. Baker placed the forest land into the Maryland Forest Conservation and Management Program, and the cropland was put into the Conservation Reserve Program, family members said.

Earlier in his life, Mr. Baker had been an avid tennis and badminton player and had competed in many club tournaments. He enjoyed playing bridge and reading, and was a world traveler.

Mr. Baker was a member of the Elkridge Club, Gibson Island Club, Coral Beach and Tennis Club in Bermuda, and the Bachelors Cotillon. He was a former member of the Maryland Club and the Hillsboro Club in Hillsboro, Fla.

He was a member of St. Andrew's Christian Community in Roland Park.

Plans for a memorial gathering are incomplete.

In addition to his son, Mr. Baker is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Patricia A. Grotz; a daughter, Helen Baker Bonsal of Owings Mills; and six grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com