Robert Masao Baba
September 2, 1917 – January 4, 2018
Baba, Robert Masao WWII US Army Veteran
Robert Masao Baba, DDS, passed away at age 100 on January 4, 2018. He was part of what journalist Tom Brokaw called “the Greatest Generation,” those living through the Great Depression of the 1930’s, surviving World War II, yet going on to great achievements afterwards.
He was born to poor immigrants from Japan, Yukichi and Momoe Baba, on September 2, 1917, in Sacramento, California. He spent his childhood in Parlier and Selma, California, the farmlands outside of Fresno. He attended both Parlier High School and Selma High School. After high school, he was too poor to afford community college, so he became the live-in house boy for the wonderful and supportive Herbert Miles family in Fresno, eventually working his way through California State College at Fresno.
However, he left college, one semester short of graduation, when, in February, 1942, Executive Order 9066 forced him to Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona. His kindness and compassion shone through this dark period of American history, when he worked as a medic in the Gila River Camp hospital. He often spoke of the kindness of the Pima Native Americans, helping them after World War II, by donating to a scholarship for them.
Dr. Baba served as a medic in Italy during World War II. He was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the highly decorated Japanese American military unit, which the United States Congress recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2011.
After World War II ended, he returned to California, where he found anti-Japanese sentiments still strong, so he then moved to Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, he attended Loyola University Chicago Dental School, simultaneously working fulltime in the blood bank of Cook County Hospital. He graduated dental school in 1957. Although he loved Chicago, he decided to return to California, for the simple reason that he did not like the Chicago winters.
Dr. Baba opened his dental practice in Whittier, California, in 1957. He specialized in dentistry for children until 1992. He loved his patients and their families. Dr. Baba applied compassion, from lessons learned from his own challenging life, to his patients. He would allow people to pay as they could.
He often dispensed advice on life, as well as dental care.
Dr. Baba has lived with his daughter, Ann, in Burbank, California, since 2009.
He will be remembered as a good and decent person, of notable accomplishment, who was compassionate towards other people, always striving to improve himself.
Dr. Baba is survived by one daughter, two sons and four granddaughters. One son predeceased him.
A memorial service will be held at a yet undetermined date.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in the name of Robert Masao Baba, DDS, to:
Loyola University Chicago, please specify scholarships
Loyola University Chicago–Gift Processing
Carol Stream, IL 60122-4336
Go for Broke National Education Center
355 East First Street, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.fukuimortuary.com (213) 626-0441