Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Nicholas Ryan Baeth, 43

| December 21, 2021 7:00 AM

Nicholas Ryan Baeth, 43, passed away Dec. 11, 2021, at home in Lancaster, Penn., following a brief but courageous and fearless fight with an aggressive stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Born in Libby on Feb. 24, 1978, Nicholas spent his childhood in the picturesque Kootenai River Valley picking huckleberries, hiking, creek ice-skating, playing cards and held a part-time summer job capturing slugs for his grandparents. At age 13, he moved with his family to Washington state, ending up in Federal Way attending Lakota Junior and then Decatur High schools. It was there he discovered his love of music, playing trombone in the school’s concert and jazz bands, mathematics and Katherine “Katie” Peloza.

At Pacific Lutheran University, he continued playing the trombone, studying mathematics and dating Katie Peloza. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a theme. He graduated in 2000 with a double major in mathematics and computer science, but the best part of that summer was getting married to “his girl,” the Anne to his Gilbert, Katie. They were perfect for each other, and nobody in their right mind could deny it.

Nick and Katie followed their own eastward expansion to Lincoln, Neb., attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for graduate studies (he earned his doctorate in 2005) and to Lee’s Summit, Mo., where Dr. Nick would work to become a full professor of mathematics at the University of Central Missouri.

In 2015, their family became complete with the birth of George Henry William Baeth. The pursuit of happiness brought the family to Lancaster, Penn., in 2018 when Nick accepted a tenure track position at Franklin & Marshall College. To have found a professional home with colleagues and students that shared his passion for the beauty of learning brought Nick immense joy and — in his final weeks — strength.

Nick truly believed in the beauty of mathematics, but was always interested in so much more: music, history, traveling the world, rock climbing, curling, cooking, disc golfing, running, biking, hiking, brewing beers, meads and ciders, and he was a true coffee snob and fanatic.

Most of all he loved weekends making waffles with George before heading off on some great family adventure.

When Nicholas was finally diagnosed with pancreaticobiliary as the primary cancer in early November, he fought the dragon with all his might. His determination, sense of humor, kindness and prowess at card games stayed with him until the end.

Nick will always be remembered and missed by his wife and best friend, Katie, and son George of Lancaster, Penn.; parents, Randall and Dixie (Maiden) Baeth of Federal Way, Wash.; brother, Joshua (Bridget) Baeth, and niece, Ruari of Tacoma, Wash.; aunts, uncles, cousins, precious friends, and thousands of students and colleagues from around the world.

The ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. Nicholas Ryan Baeth, fantastic husband, father, son, brother and human passed away at age 43. He was simply 1 better.

An in-person and streaming celebration of life will be held at Franklin & Marshall College later this spring.

In lieu of flowers, friends and neighbors have created a GoFundMe site for Katie and George: