This memoir is compiled from eulogies written by Len's family.
We remember Len as the silly younger brother who loved monsters and scary movies and loved to scare people; who got stuck climbing the telephone pole and had to have half his blue jeans cut off to get down. We also remember Len as the serious one -- from a young age he built his own rockets and did a lot of reading on starships and space exploration, which foretold his fascination with science fiction and Star Trek.
He knew in his heart that ours could not be the only planet where life had emerged over billions of years. Len could not imagine with hundreds of billions more galaxies than there are stars in our own Milky Way, that we are doomed to eternal loneliness in the vastness of the cosmos.
Despite his love of space, Len had one true love in his life -- his wife of 27 years, Joy. They were together from a very young age, and how Lenard treasured her! Len always spoke of his daughter, Alison, with such love and pride. Together, Joy and Alison brought sunshine to Len's days. And he, in turn, brought his unique perspective to them. Len's world was more focused on the internal than most of ours -- he spent a lot of time on his own, and analyzed situations that most of us take for granted.
Len suffered a lot medically in his life, and he would always let us know how he was feeling; he did not have any illusions about his limitations. He couldn't help you move a stove or fix a car ... but there was something he could do, and it was worth more than any help he could provide physically -- he could listen.
He never judged people or held prejudices against anyone. He was smart, caring, and direct. Even when he was at his lowest he still had those qualities.
There were times when he wasn't feeling well and sometimes it was really bad, but he never gave up. When he had his good days, there was no one like Len Baas. He was a man who was second to none and afraid of nothing. He challenged the world (without words sometimes) and showed it every day in his life. He was intelligent; he knew a little something about everything, and when he had a passion about something he went after it full force. He was excited about finding new things to spark his interest.
And in Len's own words:
If anyone asks how I want to be remembered, please say the following about me:
I have no regrets.
I spent every day learning new things. No matter what, I fought every day to be a better person and work out my health problems. I spent my life turning people on to new things and ideas; I hope they appreciate that.
Do not waste your life pursuing job and money, make love and touch every day! Debate issues! Truly feel your emotions. Discover your brain.
Tell all to be happy; as I ride on my journey, I will see our solar system, our galaxy, our universe, which is what I always wanted. I will finally know if there are aliens, and all my other questions will be answered.
Now Len's spirit is free to finally understand the universe in its wholeness and beauty, to learn what existence really is and, especially important to Len -- what it all means. Even more than his search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Len's mission was his search for meaning. We can all rest assured that Len's spirit has found the way at last.