Baker Brings Humor To A Life Of Caring

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Judy Baker will never spend any time on an analyst's couch, trying to overcome her shyness. For two reasons.

One, she's just too darned busy. Baker is the new marketing manager of the Mogollon Health Alliance, replacing Bob Ware, who moved on to become president of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Not a waking moment passes when Baker isn't working for, promoting or dreaming up fund-raising possibilities for her non-profit, education-minded organization.

Two ... well, you only have to have met Baker 15 seconds ago to know that she is approximately as demure and withdrawn as was Lucille Ball when she filmed her famous Vita-meata-vegamin commercial.

She even began a recent interview by saying that it was OK to make stuff up about her.

"Made-up stuff is always so much more fun than the facts," she said, concluding the sentence much like she concludes most of her sentences with raucous, ain't-life-grand laughter.

To prove her point, Baker shares a bold-faced rumor about herself and Dean, her husband of 30 years and a retired Department of Public Safety officer.

"There are some wild stories going around about how Dean and I met, and I've never told people they were wrong," Baker said, laughing. "One of the best ones even went through the town council. In this story, I met Dean when he was patrolling. He stopped me for some kind of traffic infraction and I told him I would (be very, very nice to him) in the back seat if he wouldn't give me a ticket.

"I've actually been asked if that's a true story," Baker said between gasps of laughter. "My answer was, 'Hey, I'll let you believe what you want to believe!'"

Here's a more believable story:

Judy Baker was born 47 years ago in Moose Lake, Minn., and her family moved to Newport Beach, Calif., when she was 13 years old.

"I ditched school every chance I got to go to the beach," she said. "But I did suffer from culture shock. I mean, I came from a small town of 800 people and two seasons: mosquitos and snow."

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