I didn’t know Brian Baker of Willamette, Ill., but I wish I had. I hope he and his family don’t think me rude for writing about him just a few weeks after his death, but I feel compelled to do so.
You see, Brian Baker had accomplished quite a bit in his 58 years. He was the president and founder of Vestor Capital in Chicago. He held undergraduate degrees in accounting and finance from Georgetown University and a law degree from Notre Dame University. His talent must have been widely recognized because he also served on a number of boards and voluntary committees including the Dairymen’s Inc., Regina Dominican High School, Saint Francis Xavier Parish and other groups too numerous to mention.
I didn’t know him, but I would guess his most cherished role was that of husband to Linda, father of Brian Jr., Matthew, Carolyn and Katherine. He also left behind both his parents, two brothers, two sisters and, as the obituary said, “numerous nephews and nieces, and many loyal and trusting friends.”
In short, Brian Baker was what a lot of us strive to be. Except that he is gone; he died because he bled to death after falling on a glass table. And he is not alone. Google “injury” + “glass furniture” and find just under 900,000 response. Many of them say that there are nearly 16,000 accidents involving glass furniture every year. Children are most common victims but adults such as Brian can be as well.
For many years, there was an informal agreement among most furniture manufacturers in the United States to use proper types of glass in furniture. But these days, very little furniture is manufactured in the United States. And, as one offshore manufacturer told me a few years ago, “we are very willing and want to meet all codes and standards … but if it’s not a code or a standard we will do not see why we should do so.” And that, in my opinion has been at the heart of the problem.
That is why I am happy … no, relieved … to mention that today’s top news story details the development and publication of ASTM F2813-12, a standard for furniture in glass. It’s a standard that is past due and I am glad to see it completed. It’s a good start toward glass safety in furniture and to keeping us from losing people like Brian Baker.