An award-winning teacher who helped hundreds of deaf and blind people across the region has died aged 89.
Fred Baron was inspired to follow a career in education as his uncle Charlie Young was deaf.
Born in Seaham, he went to Ryhope Grammar School before training to be a teacher at Durham University and spending a time in National Service, where he taught the children of soldiers in the education corp in Wales and then Otterburn.
He went on to teach in Wingate for a year before the job took him to Kent, where taught the blind for five years, returning to the North East to take up a role at Barbara Priestman School to teach its deaf pupils and also helped set up a unit for deaf children at Broadway Junior School.
His work life progressed as he took on the task of leading County Durham’s peripatetic deaf unit, travelling across the area to ensure students got the best chance they could through their lessons.
Before his retirement aged 58, he was based in Jarrow working for South Tyneside Council, but his teaching continued on a voluntary basis, spending 43 years leading a lip reading group at Fulwell Community Association and also helped clubs in Houghton and Peterlee.
He was just 100% there to help other people.Simon Baron
His efforts won him the education title in the Pride of Wearside Awards in 2006.
Fred, who lived on the Elstob Estate in Sunderland, retired from his voluntary role two years ago, when a celebration was held to mark his achievements.
Fred married Margaret, now 85, who also grew up in Seaham, and the couple have a daughter Penny, 51, and son Simon, 53, as well as his wife Mary, 57.
Simon and Mary are parents to Matthew, 22, and Charlotte, 20.
Fred’s funeral will be held on what would have been his 62nd wedding anniversary, at the same time he married Margaret.
Simon said: “He was a true gentleman.
“He was just 100% there to help other people.”
Fred died on Tuesday, July 18, peacefully in hospital after falling ill through the diabetes he had for 30 years and leukaemia, which was diagnosed two years ago.
He also had Alzheimer’s, with donations in lieu of flowers to go to the Alzhemier’s Society.
His funeral will be held at Sunderland Crematorium at 11am on Tuesday, August 1.