Peter B. Baute, MD, 86

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 2:45pm

Dr. Peter B. Baute, of Block Island and Wakefield, R.I., died at home on April 4, 2020, at the age of 86. He was the beloved husband of Cynthia (Cindy) Baute.

Peter was born in Providence, R.I., on July 27, 1934, to Helen Bruckner Baute and Joseph A. Baute, MD. He was a graduate of Lockwood High School and the University of New Hampshire. After receiving his medical degree from the Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1960, he completed a fellowship in tropical medicine at Gorgas Memorial Laboratory in Panama. He then served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1961 to 1964, spending two years in South Vietnam and one at the Newport R.I. Naval Hospital. Peter pursued his Residency in General Surgery at Wayne State University Hospitals in Detroit, serving as Chief Resident from 1968 to 1969. He was Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Peter joined the staff of Kent County Memorial Hospital in 1968, where he was Assistant Chief of Surgery from 1979 to 1981 and Chief of Surgery from 1981 to 1984. With Doctors Arthur Hardy and Richard Dyer, they formed Toll Gate Surgical Associates, Inc. Their practice expanded to include doctors Daniel Reardon, David Luz, Candace Dyer and John Isaac. Peter was the managing partner of Toll Gate Associates, a medical office building partnership.

Throughout his career, Peter engaged extensively in research, teaching, and professional leadership. He published journal articles on breast cancer research in Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics and Radiology, and delivered numerous presentations on cancer care. He twice directed American College of Surgeons (ACS) courses on cancer management and served as state chairman for the ACS Commission on Cancer. He chaired the Kent County Hospital Cancer Committee and developed a model community cancer program that received accreditation by the ACS Commission on Cancer. He was President of the Providence Surgical Society from 1985 to 1986, served on the Executive Committee of the New England Surgical Society, and was a Cancer Program Surveyor for the Commission on Cancer. Peter also volunteered on surgical teams in Honduras and Nepal. In retirement, he was a volunteer physician at the Rhode Island Free Clinic for eight years.

Peter determined that he would stop doing surgery when he turned 65 and he did, but he could not give up the practice of medicine. Instead, in 2001 he accepted a position as Co-Medical Director at Block Island Health Services. For many years, Pete had covered for island doctors on leave. He and Cindy had fallen in love with Block Island and built a home there. He confessed to a friend that retooling from surgery to primary care was a major challenge in late career, but he loved getting to know each patient, their family members, even their pets, a few of which were also seen “professionally” in emergencies.

After retiring in 2006, Peter completed the University of Rhode Island’s Master Gardening Program and volunteered at the Roger Williams Botanical Gardens. He was elected to the New Shoreham Town Council in 2006 and served for three terms where he successfully championed the wind farm and expanded solar power on the island. His passionate efforts to create bike paths on the island did not come to fruition but he retained hope in that quest.

In addition to his wife Cindy, Peter is survived by siblings, Joseph Baute and his wife Stephanie, Barbara Dowd, MD, and Robert Baute, MD, and his wife Barbara J. Baute. He was predeceased by brother-inlaw, Thomas Dowd, MD, and sister-in- law, Cynthia F. Baute. Peter is also survived by four children, Linda Crosette, Peter Baute, Jr., Barbara Baute, and Michael Baute, six grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and by Cindy’s daughters, Kimberly Cardarelli and Jennifer Koziol and grandson Colby Cardarelli.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated when it is possible for family and friends to gather.

Pete will be remembered for his sharp powers of observation and analysis, his quiet wit, his dedication to public service and his devotion to the promotion of health care in a wide range of settings. In 2018, Block Island Health Services established an endowment for the Peter Baute Award to recognize individuals who demonstrate the traits that are Peter’s legacy: exceptional interpersonal skills and compassion coupled with a high level of acumen in delivering healthcare on Block Island and also to support health education and research advancing knowledge and awareness of wellness on Block Island. Memorial gifts may be directed to Block Island Health Services, Box 919, Block Island, R.I. 02807 or to the Rhode Island Free Clinic, 655 Broad Street, Providence, R.I. 02907. For guest book and condolences, please visit