Funeral services were held for Douglas Department of Corrections Warden Antonio Baca on January 5 in Sierra Vista. Baca passed away suddenly of a heart attack on December 30.
“It was an honor and privilege to work for Warden Baca,” said Veronica Abrigo, Executive Staff Assistant.
He began his career with Arizona Department of Corrections as a Correctional Services Officer at the Fort Grant Training Center on April 24, 1978.
Early in his career, Officer Baca demonstrated his commitment to public service by participating in searches with horses and tracking dogs.
He was promoted to sergeant on February 13, 1981. Sergeant Baca’s work with tracking dogs became a highly respected and appreciated resource for local law enforcement agencies in southern Arizona.
On July 18, 1987, Sergeant Baca was promoted to lieutenant at Fort Grant. He continued working at Fort Grant through 1997.
Baca was promoted to correctional captain at ASPC-Tucson on April 11, 1998. He transferred to ASPC-Lewis on December 9, 2000.
Captain Baca was instrumental in the opening of Buckley Unit, again demonstrating leadership and his “comprehensive knowledge of security,” Director Charles L. Ryan said.
A performance rater wrote in Captain Baca’s Performance Appraisal for Correctional Employees (PACE), “He will undoubtedly make an excellent ADW as he progresses to his next assignment.”
On June 9, 2001, he was promoted to Associate Deputy Warden at ASPC-Lewis, Barchey Unit and was promoted to deputy warden of the unit on July 27, 2002.
Baca initiated system improvements in the physical plant at Lewis and maintained a “strong positive presence on the yard.”
He was described as one who “leads from the front.”
Baca transferred to ASPC-Douglas, Mohave Unit on July 29, 2004. On January 13, 2007, he was appointed to deputy warden of operations at ASPC-Douglas.
“Warden Antonio "Tony" Baca was an administrator who led by example and would never ask anything of anyone he wasn't willing to do. He was a mentor and a friend who I could always count on when I needed sound advice whether it be on a personal or professional level for nearly 20 years.” Deputy Warden of Operations, Yolanda Elliott said. “The qualities he possessed are hard to come by in a person and a supervisor. His absence is a great loss to the Arizona State Prison Douglas. He will be missed by so many.”
Consistently demonstrating dependability, professionalism and his strong work ethic, Warden Baca was a model leader, Ryan said.
He was accessible to staff and inmates and viewed as a fair-minded person. His good humor and steady demeanor were greatly appreciated by those who worked with him. Warden Baca concluded each staff meeting by telling all in attendance to “Go fight crime and strike fear in the hearts of evildoers,” Ryan added.
Warden Antonio Baca is survived by his wife Anita, sons Raymond and Antonio, six grandchildren, his father Antonio Sr., and his sister.
“We sincerely appreciate Antonio Baca’s years of service,” Ryan said. “And pass along our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and former co-workers.”
“Baca, he was every man's brother” Deputy Warden, Papago Unit, Tom Paplawsky said.