Michael Baier, 78, of Lenox
Michael Baier died in his home June 17, 2019, surrounded by his wife, daughter and son. He has left this world, but what will remain within many hearts and in this world is his great generosity of heart, creativity, grace, love and humor. A man of depth, steadfast character and quiet strength, Michael was a stable rock for many, especially his wife and children. He always made himself available to be present, to lend an ear, and with wisdom, wit and compassion, offered comfort or guidance to his family and friends and most all he encountered.
These qualities also made Michael one of the most prolific and successful German television scriptwriters. For more than 30 years, he created story after story, inventing characters and plots that touched millions of people, making them laugh and feel and think about the larger questions of life, and inspiring an appreciation for wonder and human kindness.
Michael was born Dec. 17, 1940, in Germany to Verena and Wilhelm ‘Helme’ Burcardo Baier. His early childhood was marked by war. He settled with his mother and father, both artists, and two sisters in Karlsruhe, Germany, during the American occupation. From an early age, Michael’s world revolved around art, literature and music. In his late youth, he discovered jazz and played the saxophone in a jazz band, supporting himself by driving a taxi during the day. Jazz remained part of his life and it was through music that he met the love of his life, Sibylle. They were married in 1965 and soon thereafter had their son and daughter, Robert and Julia. Michael settled with his family in Stuttgart and began writing and producing in the film advertising department for IBM, VW and Porsche, among others. In 1981, the family moved to America, to deep rural Massachusetts, where they helped start Heartwood Owner Builder School and built their own off-the-grid solar powered home. Here, Michael turned to writing a novel “The Eighth Angel” (Der Achter Engel), published by Piper Verlag in 1985, and wrote his first series for German television.
In his lifetime Michael wrote hundreds of scripts—a staggering achievement. He was a man of discipline and great consistency, maintaining a faithful writing routine every day. He was deeply loyal, though he had an independent wandering spirit and continued to explore and live in other places, including Berlin, Gloucester and Key West, where he designed and created beautiful places for his friends and family. There are many ways to have a marriage and Sibylle and Michael’s was unique, allowing for their unique personalities. Michael was a devoted husband and even though he spent a lot of time physically apart from Sibylle, he remained deeply loyal and in love with her until the end.
After his illness six years ago, he stopped writing and moved back to Lenox to spend the rest of his life with his wife at home and his children and grandchildren nearby.
It is hard to sum up a person. There are his gifts, achievements, his work, his family and friends, but underlying all of that is his nature, his being, and that is what many miss so much now that he is gone. Michael was a beautiful human being. He was kind, generous, witty, wise, independent and a most loving man, father, grandfather and husband.
He leaves his wife, Sibylle Baier, and children Robert Baier and Julia Baier; his daughter-in-law, Carol Gingles Baier; son-in-law Jon Rosen; grandsons Leo and Ben Rosenbaier; step-grandsons Joshua and Jason Morse; and sister Martha Baier (Obersteinbach, France). He was predeceased by his sister Maja Baier (Munich, Germany).
The burial took place among immediate family Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Lenox. A celebration of Michael’s life will be held and announced at a later date.