Laura Kautz Baker, 67, of Branford passed away on January 21, 2016 in her home a year after receiving a serious cancer diagnosis. Daughter of the late Rudolph and Julia Hunt Kautz, Laura, also known to her family and Branford friends as Bonnie, was born on August 12, 1948. She and her husband, Benjamin M. Baker, were married for 38 years. Laura attended Foote School in New Haven, Westover School in Middlebury, CT, and she received her BA from Briarcliff College in 1970. She worked as Assistant to then CT State Senator Joseph I. Lieberman between 1972 and 1973. She was Special Assistant to the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1973 to 1977, and she was Director of Local and Regional Media Relations for the American Institute of Architecture in Washington, DC between 1977 and 1979. Laura's crowning achievement was her shop, Pickets, which amassed a huge following over her 20 year ownership. Pickets was a Fairfield fixture, filled with items old and new that were beautifully styled and displayed with Laura's signature flair and a hint of humor. No matter who came thru the shop door, there was always a treasure to be found. Many of the habitués were of the four legged variety, always welcomed and rewarded with an expected doggie treat. Pickets gifts, wrapped with distinctive care brought a smile to many faces. To a multitude of adoring customers, Pickets was Laura Baker and Laura was Pickets. They will both be deeply missed for a very long time. Laura loved people, all people. In social gatherings, one would find her deep in conversation about things that really mattered to the individual. There was little small talk and she rarely steered the discussion towards herself. Instead, with a quick wit and wisdom, her interactions left people with new insights and good feelings. Many, many people considered Laura a very good friend. Along with her devoted husband Ben, Laura leaves behind her son, Lock; daughter, Kelsey, faithful rescue dog, Toby, and generations of cousins, friends, and neighbors. Services will be private. Arrangements have been entrusted to BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial donations in Laura's name may be made to Our Companions Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 956, Manchester, CT 06045 (www.ourcompanions.org).

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  1. Dear Ben……Through Carol Osgood, I’d gotten to know Laura over the years, and am shocked and saddened by this news. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your children, and that I will always remember Laura as an an incredible talent, an inspiration, and a fun, generous person to have known. Probably just what everyone else has written or spoken to you.

    My sympathies to you,

    Missy Norton

    Cincinnati, OH

  2. Hello Ben,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. I, like many, met Laura while exploring her many treasures in Pickets. We very quickly became friends. Her humor, wit and kindness made anyone and everyone feel at ease. She even recommended our Honeymoon destination in Barbados. I was lucky to lunch with Laura about a year ago Fall. She took me on a tour of your new home. Just lovely. I feel blessed to have had this time with her and see your home through her eyes.

    I hope you find some comfort in knowing that this was one very loved and very special woman.

    Martha Spiegel

  3. I am so very saddened to hear of Laura’s loss. She was a beautiful woman, so warm and friendly, humorous, witty, and kind. She will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to Ben, Lock and Kelsey at this very difficult and sad time.

  4. Ben and Family-

    Laura will always be thought of with every twinkle of light over the Christmas Season, and every Spring bloom. She embraced us all with her warmth, wit and talents. I think that many of us have a little piece of her in our homes. One to treasure with thoughts of our friend.

    With condolences and prayers of comfort,

    Bonnie Paige

  5. Dear Ben, Kelsey and Lock,

    I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and with Laura’s spirit at this time. Much love, Janis Bowersox

  6. Dear Ben, Kelsey & Lock,

    I am saddened at this news. I knew Laura thru Pickets & what style she had! didn’t know she was a Westover girl, so I would like to contribute to the school in her memory. She will be greatly missed by me & many many others! Sky Wilson Field ’61

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