Aloha United Way (AUW) is saddened to announce that recently retired Chief Operating Officer, Norman Baker, passed away peacefully on December 11th 2021.
HONOLULU – Norm Baker served in leadership roles at AUW from 2004 to 2020. In addition to serving as Chief Operating Officer, he also stepped in as the interim Chief Executive Officer on multiple occasions. Norm was the backbone of AUW for nearly two decades, and postponed retirement to help transition the current CEO, John Fink, into the job and train his successor, current Chief Operating Officer, Suzanne Skjold. “The thing that struck me most was Norm’s humility and kindness. There was no one like him,” said Fink. “He knew so much and the few months that I was fortunate to spend with Norm were incredibly enlightening and far too few.”
Norm’s life was dedicated to service. His first career was as a pilot in the Air Force where he flew 326 combat missions. He rose to the rank of Colonel and retired as the Chief of Staff of the Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force base. Norm often said he was blessed to retire from the Air Force in Hawai’i, one of the most beautiful places in the world. His post-military endeavors were spent in leadership roles at the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Child and Family Services, and most recently, 17 years at AUW.
His quiet and generous nature touched many lives in and outside AUW. This sentiment has been widely shared in recent days as current and former AUW employees and community members mourn his loss. “Norm was the heart of AUW and he cared deeply about making our community a better place, especially for families who were struggling,” said Cindy Adams, former AUW President and CEO. “I will greatly miss his friendship, quiet strength, and unshakable belief in the goodness of people.” That faith in people was a signature of his leadership style.
Norm played an integral role in starting the ALICE Initiative in Hawai’i. “When I think of AUW, I think of Norm, how big a role he played, and how much he cared about everyone and every organization associated with AUW,” said Terri Fujii, AUW Board Chair and Managing Partner, CW Associates, CPAs. “He loved what he did because he cared so much about our community. Norm will forever be in our hearts and part of AUW.”
AUW will name the quarterly “Above & Beyond Award” in Norm’s honor. The Award recognizes perseverance, commitment, and dedication to serving the community, which is what Norm embodied.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Norm’s memory to Aloha United Way, 200 N Vineyard Blvd, Suite 700, Honolulu, HI 96817, www.auw.org.