Movieguide Co-Founder Lili Baehr Leaves a Legacy of Love, Friendship and Parenting Joys

by | May 10, 2022 | Culture

Elegance followed Lili Baehr wherever she walked. The Baehr family matriarch would light up a room as she told stories and enchanted even strangers with her serene attitude and ever-present gratitude.

Lili was adored by everyone she met, but especially by her children and grandchildren.

“I want to impart joy in the adventure of parenting,” Lili said as one of her granddaughters curled up in her lap. “Have joy in the journey. It’s a matter of attitude.”

Lili’s passion for her family inspired her quiet strength as she continued to be a walking miracle. Many health struggles should have waylaid her, but Lili kept overcoming, a determined perseverance guiding her steps.

If you had told Lili when she was in her early 20s that she’d eventually raise four practically perfect children and an ever-growing gaggle of grandchildren, she would have laughed.

The Argentine-born socialite immigrated to Houston, Texas, when she was a small child. Her fierce determination was evident early on, as she applied to the prestigious Rice University and entered their architecture program.

“I was part of that generation that was the turning point generation,” Lili said. “Up to then you went to college, not so much for a degree, but what we call the M-R-S degree, but that wasn’t my thinking.”

“Before we showed up in college, we were supposed to read a few books for discussion,” Lili continued. “Number 1 of them was Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, and she’s the one that opened up the whole feminist moment really. She’s the one that asked the question as you’re sitting there, rubbing your dirty dishes, ‘Is that all there is?’ She really started all that going. So, I went [to Rice] with that mindset. I’m going to be an architect of note.”

When Lili began her architecture program, she was one of three women among 45 men. By the time she graduated, she was the last woman standing with 25 men.

“The 1960s were such an interesting time,” Lili said. “So many changes happened then, some good, some not. The whole idea of making love not war, and the hippie movement. …

“I traveled to the beat of a different drum, can’t you tell by the way I run, every time you make eyes at me,” Lili continued, quoting Linda Ronstadt. “I’m not going to settle down for anybody who’s going to just want that from me. And so, women had that kind of so-called liberated attitude at the time, and I bought into it a little bit.”

During this time, Lili met Ted Baehr. For several months, every few weeks, Ted had been dreaming of Lili but didn’t know it was her, and was dating other women throughout the time. By the time they miraculously met when Ted’s partner told Ted in Houston that he had met the woman in Ted’s detailed dream, Lili still wasn’t sure she wanted to settle down. She went to visit Ted in New York and never returned.

“He had a conscience, even before he was an actual Christian, he had a conscience about the world and the disparities,” Lili said of the man who became her husband. “I was more hanging out with society folks and not really thinking about those kinds of things, so he made me start thinking about those things.”

Lili said she initially didn’t want to get married, but after several years, Ted asked her father for her hand in marriage. When Lili’s father approved, Ted and Lili tied the knot.

“Almost immediately, he found God in the right place,” Lili said of Ted’s spiritual journey. “He found God, and I just had to see that it was real, you know? And then, of course, my understanding is different because he helped me see to the core what was important and what wasn’t, and how fabulous and how simple and how radical the gospel is.”

The couple then decided to use their gifts for God’s kingdom and founded Good News Communications.

“We started with Good News Communications, the idea that we would use whatever gifts we had in the film industry or whatever to make films for ministries and do other things.”

Ted got a job at Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York so he could attend seminary, and the couple began taping the services. They then developed a local PBS program where Ted would interview guests like Madeleine L’Engle. Ted and Lili’s popularity grew, and soon they were invited to use their skills around the world in countries as varied as Israel, Japan and South Africa.

The couple also created the video resource guide, with many more books to come (38), several TV programs, and many grand events, including the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry. Lili also created the wonderful show for the New York Historical Society and location managed and associate produced an Italian movie that has become a cult classic on the internet. Ted and Lili had their hands full with work, but Ted suggested a baby.

“So, I’m 34, I had my first child, Peirce, there,” Lili remembered. “And I have to say, my life changed completely. At the same time, when I look back on it, the best thing I ever did, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, it was four children, who have now expanded to 15 grandchildren. That was the only thing of true value in my opinion.”

For the rest of this story, visit movieguide.org. {eoa}

Jessilyn Lancaster is the managing editor at Movieguide.

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