|Birth: ||Jul. 26, 1950|
|Death: ||Dec. 10, 1999|
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Peter Baida 49, won literary prize this year: - December 12, 1999
Peter Baida's short fictional work, "A Nurse's Story," was rejected by 22 editors before being printed by the Gettysburg Review in fall 1998. Months later, it won first prize in the 1999 O. Henry Awards.
The Baltimore native had endured lifelong hemophilia and cancer 25 years ago, but was too ill to attend the awards ceremony Oct. 21.
His wife of 22 years, Diane Cole, a fellow writer and Baltimorean, delivered a wry acceptance speech he had written. Mr. Baida, 49, died Friday at New York-Cornell Hospital in New York, of liver failure after complications from surgery.
In his acceptance speech, Ms. Cole recalled, "He said, 'If I can't sell this story, I think I might as well give up, because I don't think I can write a better one.' "
Mr. Baida wrote fiction and nonfiction while serving as the director of direct-mail and development communications for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he worked for 20 years. He also was a member of the board of the Hemophilia Association of New York.
A 1968 Park School graduate, Mr. Baida won a scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in English from Harvard University in 1972 and earned a master's degree in creative writing at Boston University in 1973. He taught English from 1973 to 1976 at Boys' Latin School in Baltimore.
Mr. Baida remained close friends with his high school English teacher, Kenneth Greif, now retired.
"He was always a wonderful writer and a clear thinker," said Mr. Greif. Because of his hemophilia, "he did have to always struggle, but he was just stoical -- there was no self-pity. His courage was inspiring."
In 1979, Mr. Baida earned a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
His nonfiction works include the 1990 book, "Poor Richard's Legacy: American Business Values from Benjamin Franklin to Donald Trump," and he wrote columns, reviews and articles for national publications. He and his wife contributed articles about Baltimore Orioles players to a collection of baseball sketches, and though they lived for 20 years on New York's Upper East Side, they remained loyal Orioles fans.
Mr. Baida's award-winning short story of a dying nurse, reflecting upon her patients and earlier union organizing, was populated with small-town characters and "was quite reflective of his generosity and wide range of interests, his appreciation of others," Mr. Greif said, "without being overly sentimental."
Mr. Greif and Ms. Cole said a collection of Mr. Baida's short stories is to be published by University Press of Mississippi.
"A Nurse's Story," inspired by a nonfiction account in The Nation of a nurses' strike, appeared in the autumn 1998 issue of the Gettysburg literary magazine.
It is "a decidedly quiet, yet cinematic story that shifts smoothly in time, takes us on a circular journey from past to present to future," according to the introduction by Sherman Alexie, a 1999 O. Henry juror.
Mr. Alexie read a portion of the story at the awards ceremony at the New York Arts Club. The awards jury included authors Stephen King and Lorrie Moore.
Services will be at noon today at Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home, 8900 Reisterstown Road.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a 10-year-old son, Edward Baida; his parents, Erwin and Lillian Baida of Baltimore; and numerous Baltimore-area relatives.
Created by: K
Record added: Feb 29, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 86013721