March 11, 1935 - February 26, 2019
Douglas Garner Baldwin passed away peacefully at the age of 83 in Bradenton, Florida. Doug was born on a farm south of Jesup, Iowa on March 11, 1935. His parents, Gwendolyn and Harry farmed across the road from Gwendolyn's parents, the Learys. Doug came into this world as a ball of fire. On the morning he was born, his mother was in labor while the house was literally on fire. The solution was to roll Gwendolyn up in the mattress and take her out through the window. So if you would have asked Doug if he was born in a barn, he would have said yes. Life growing up on a farm was hard. Some work was still done with horses or hard manual labor. When Doug wasn't in school, he was working the farm with his father. They raised and grew almost all their own food and sold livestock and crops for money to keep operating. They raised milk cows, hogs, chickens, horses, sheep and an acre garden next to the orchard. Doug learned the meaning of hard work and its rewards. In those years, he developed his mechanical aptitude, which served him well all of his life. It was a few years later that they moved to the Baldwin farm north of Jesup, Iowa, which was homesteaded in the 1850s by Doug's great grandfather. This farm has been in the family for over 164 years. Doug always enjoyed a break when he and his father would go to town. His father knew everyone and spent time catching up on their lives. His father had a very generous heart and always was helping others, even though he had limited means. This set the standard for Doug all his life. At Jesup High School, Doug developed into a star athlete. He received 14 varsity letters in high school. Two of those years he varsity lettered in four sports; football, basketball, track, and baseball. He placed first in the state in the 100 and 220-yard dash his junior and senior years; 1952 and 1953. He went to Iowa State on a football scholarship. During high school, Doug excelled in mathematics. He especially enjoyed algebra and calculus because, to him, it explained all the mechanics he saw on the farm. While in college, he married Mary Ellen Walker in 1954. In 1960, while finishing his B.S. in Physics at Ames, Iowa, he not only graduated with honors, but with three children. Doug's first teaching and coaching job was in Muscatine, Iowa, at Jefferson High School. In 1965, the family moved to Freeport, Illinois, and he began his career as a teacher at Freeport High School. In the summer of 1966, Doug earned a federal grant to pursue a master's degree in Physics. He chose the University of Washington in Seattle for his studies. This was to become the source of wonderful family memories. The drive to and from Seattle was an adventure. They camped along the way in national and state parks from Canada to Colorado and everywhere in between. Seeing the Northern Lights, Yellowstone, and the beauty of America was wondrous. All of Doug's children still look on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington as sacred ground. Doug especially loved Mount Rainier. These times were so important to Doug because it was an all family adventure filled with aspiring times and love. As a physics and math teacher and as a football and track coach, Doug enjoyed working with young people. He always felt a calling to offer not only academic advice but broader life guidance. Kids seemed to appreciate and respect him. During those years, he gained the affectionate nickname "Bernie." His favorite coaching job was in track and field. He loved working with sprinters. He would instill in them that sprint relays were won or lost, not by the speed of the runners, but by the quality of the baton hand-offs. He took many teams to the state championships. He also used track and football as a way to direct boys from negative life distractions. Raising five children was a challenge on a teacher's salary. Doug eventually left the classroom to become Dean of Students. Doug also served the community as a police and fire commissioner and later on the Freeport Park District Board. A dozen years after he returned to single life, Mr. Baldwin had a physics student, Julie Mairs, who put an asterisk by his name before she handed her mother the schedule for parent/teacher night conferences and advised her mother, Maureen, that she didn't mind if she wasn't able to meet with all her teachers, but she wanted her to be sure to meet Mr. Baldwin - which she did. The next morning over breakfast, Maureen asked Julie why she wanted her to meet him, and after a short pause Julie said, "Well, Mom, he has the same corny sense of humor you have." Mr. Baldwin soon phoned Maureen, but she asked him to call her back later as she was watching a football game and didn't want to miss the end. Cupid put the right words in her mouth. A woman who loves football, he had to get to know this lady soon...very soon. Fast forward a couple of years, and Julie was heading off to the University of Illinois. Mr. Baldwin asked Julie about the for-sale sign in front of their house and then surprised her with another query, "Julie, if I buy your mother's house, does your mother go with it?" Julie, being tuned in to his loaded questions, came right back at him with, "I don't know Mr. Baldwin, you'll have to negotiate that with my Mom." As soon as Julie left Freeport for Champaign, Illinois, Mr. Baldwin wasted no time getting his game plan into place. Doug and Maureen were married on December 26, 1992, and that partnership played life to its fullest for over twenty-six years. He would call her his renaissance woman because he loved to watch her dance, sing, run the table shooting billiards, write everything from poetry to a television game show, and many other special things she did just for him. As for Maureen, she would refer to him as her once in a lifetime, saying, "He brings out the best in me." Along with his talent for coaching athletics, Doug also felt compelled to give his practical advice on financial issues to anyone who would listen. On his money clip the inscription reads, "I'd like to live like a poor man - only with lots of money." Pablo Picasso. Doug and Maureen were Snowbirds, living in the Midwest during the summers, and staying warm during the winter on the west coast of Florida, where the fishing is fabulous, and the sun shines every day. Both were inspired by God's beautiful canvas, His artwork in nature: dolphins, manatees, blue herons, abundant tropical landscapes and a seaside full of shells, white sand, and sparkling emerald green salt-water. Getting into their boat, and becoming a part of it all, felt like being in the palm of His hand. No words needed to be said, He was there with them, and Doug would find his Maker in the mountains and in the waters that he physically embraced. During his marriage to Maureen and throughout his life he wanted to be remembered as a good man. His step-daughter, Julie, describes him as a good man who ran a good race. From our Holy Bible we read in 2 Timothy 4, verses 7 -8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." Doug Baldwin finished his race and stepped into eternity on February 26, 2019. Godspeed. Doug is survived by his wife, Maureen Baldwin, of Bradenton FL, Sons: Bruce (Christine) Baldwin of Cedarville IL, Steve (Karen) Baldwin of Plano TX, Daughters: Jean (Scott) Burton of Stockton IL, LeAnne (Craig) Raders of Lena IL, Laurie (Jim) Clark of St. Charles IL, Stepdaughter: Julie (John) Fultz of Chesterfield MO; and 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Gwendolyn Baldwin of Jesup IA, and brother Charlie. Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m. Tuesday March 5, 2019 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Freeport, with Rev. Dr. Willis Schwichtenberg officiating. Visitation will be from 11:30 A.M. until the time of service at the church. Burial will be in Cedarville Cemetery. A fellowship meal will be held at the church afterwards. In lieu of flowers, the family has established a memorial fund in his name which will go to support education. Please visit www.burketubbs.com to sign Mr. Baldwin's online guestbook and to share memories.
Douglas Garner Baldwin passed away peacefully at the age of 83 in Bradenton, Florida. Doug was born on a farm south of Jesup, Iowa on March 11, 1935. His parents, Gwendolyn and Harry farmed across the road from Gwendolyn's parents, the Learys.... View Obituary & Service Information
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