Baird was the youngest of eight children born to Thomas Swanzey, a Baptist minister, and his wife Carolyn. She survived a bout with scarlet fever and graduated from Woodlawn High School where she played snare in the marching band and ran for class treasurer. She also played violin in the Alabama Youth Symphony and spent her free time at the Birmingham Municipal Airport idolizing aviators like Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and Glenn Messer.
After graduating she took a job as a secretary for the Crane Corporation and pursued flight instruction. During World War II she joined the Civil Air Patrol and flew missions over the Gulf of Mexico and helped ferry planes between U.S. air bases. A heart problem grounded her from flying, but she remained on active duty at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi where she met radar instructor George Baird, who became her husband, moving back to Birmingham with her to take a job at Hayes Aircraft.
The Bairds had two children, Paul and Debbie, and moved to Center Point in 1955. As a mother, Baird was very active with her children's schools, with the Girl Scouts, and at Center Point Baptist Church where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and worked in the church nursery.
The couple divorced in the early 1970s. Not long afterward, Baird was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Her home was ransacked during a break in shortly before her death from heart failure.