Bayard man killed in vehicle accident in Texas

Click photo to enlargeLouis Baum, a Bayard Town Councilor and active community member, was killed over the weekend in a five-car accident in West Texas. Baum is shown here in his coffee shop, A.I.R. Coffee in Bayard, in 2009. «1»SILVER CITY — Grant County has lost another valued member of the community in a tragic car accident over the weekend.Bayard resident Louis Baum was killed in a five car accident near Pecos, Texas, reported KWES NewsWest 9, out of Midland/Odessa, on its website. The accident happened on Friday afternoon on Interstate 20 about 10 miles west of Pecos, the report said. A Dodge truck towing a horse trailer was driving west on I-20 through a dust storm that created low visibility in the area when a semi rear ended the horse trailer. Another truck behind the big rig tried avoiding the crash but the driver slammed into 18-wheeler, which then hit two other cars before coming to a stop.79-year-old Baum died at the scene and four other people were injured. Friends of Baum's were in shock and disbelief on Monday. Brad Holmgren, a friend of Baum's from Bayard, was devastated to hear of the sudden death of his friend. "It's just a huge loss," he said. "He was always just a real positive guy trying to improve the community and better things here in Bayard. He was always researching grants and he was just a real positive, profound influence in my life and my wife's too. Holmgren met Baum through going to his coffee shop in Bayard, A.I.R. coffee, which Baum closed about seven or eight months ago. "He was always just a bright face," Holmgren said. Baum was very active in the community, and was a Bayard Town Councilor, elected in 2010, and was Advertisementserving as Mayor Pro Tem currently. He was previously on the board of the Mimbres Region Arts Council and volunteered at the Blues Fest, in Bayard during Comcast Cares Day, the Bayard Community Garden, the Bayard Farmers Market, the Mining District Business Association, and with area schools. He was also a certified minister and he married Holmgren and his wife Lucy in Feb. 2010, and gave many spiritual talks at the New Church of the Southwest Desert in Silver City.He was also an artist, with some of his work in the JW Gallery in Hurley, and a triptych of paintings by Baum currently hang in the lobby of the Bayard Public Library.Baum and his wife Elizabeth moved to Grant County in February of 2006, in part because Baum had read that Silver City was the second friendliest town in the country. He bought A.I.R. Coffee Company with partner Charlie McKee in September of 2006 and expanded it from just a coffee roasting operation to a coffee house and art gallery, where he showcased some of his own artwork as well as the work of area artists. But the coffee shop was much more than just a coffee shop and art gallery. Baum paid local musicians to play there and hosted dozens of fundraisers, donating the proceeds to a wide variety of causes from local nonprofits like La Cooperativa de la Frontera, a trans-border artist cooperative for women in Columbus, N.M. and across the border in Palomas, Mexico, to Haiti relief following the devastating earthquake there in 2010. "He was just a real generous person," Holmgren said. "He was loved by many in the community, and had quite the servants heart," said former Silver City Tourism Director Julie Minicucci."He was a very special person," said Joe and Karin Wade, of the JW Art Gallery in Hurley, where Baum showed some of his work. "We will always miss not having him in our lives."Baum was promoting an event in Bayard this Saturday, Bayard's First Annual Community Christmas Gathering, a evening of Christmas caroling, music, free hot chocolate, hot cider and marshmallow roasting, to be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the triangle below Lotta Burger (at the corner of Hurley Street and Tom Foy Boulevard in Bayard. That event will still take place, said Mary Walker."I will be there singing with tears in my eyes," she said. "Louis was kind, caring and a very spiritual person. He walked the walk, which is not always easy. What I will miss so much are his funny stories as he always had me laughing. His dedication to his community of Bayard was enormous, and in my opinion, Bayard will never be the same without his energy." "Louis was one of the kindest men I've ever met," said local musician Brandon Perrault. "He truly cared for our community and was a spiritual guru too. I know he believed that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and I know his spirit is soaring. Love you Louie!""Louis again brings to my attention that life can change in an instant and each of us needs to be the best we can be right now," said Walker. "I think Louis would like that." Christine Steele can be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5802.