Eugene F. Baldwin, retired Baltimore public schools English teacher and editor, dies

Eugene F. Baldwin, a retired Baltimore City public schools teacher who had a second career as an editor, died Nov. 12 from an aneurysm at Holy Family at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Mass. The former Catonsville resident was 74.

Gloria A. Pegram of Homewood, who was principal at Fallstaff Elementary School for 22 years before retiring in 1995, recalled when Mr. Baldwin taught there and was considered “a big part of its success.”

“He was an exemplary educator, and both students and parents loved him. He deserves having a light shone on his life. We were all better for having Gene Baldwin as an educator and colleague,” she said.

“I loved and got to know Gene’s family and remember when he brought his children to school to help him with bulletin boards. I saw them grow up,” Ms. Pegram said. “It was a family affair, and they were also a big part of the Fallstaff family.”

David W. Chrismer of Rodgers Forge taught with Mr. Baldwin at Fallstaff Middle School and called his longtime friend a fine man who “worked so hard for those children.”

Eugene Francis Baldwin was born in Baltimore and raised on Lake Avenue in North Baltimore. He was the son of Eugene F. Baldwin Sr., an architect and builder, and his wife, Blandina Baldwin, a registered nurse.

He was the paternal grandson of Baltimore architect Ephraim Francis Baldwin, who was known for his numerous commissions for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, including the line’s general office building in Baltimore and the Mount Royal Station, and for designing Roman Catholic churches, seminaries, schools and several buildings at Catholic University of America in Washington.

Eugene Baldwin graduated from Loyola Blakefield in 1961, then obtained two bachelor’s degrees in 1965 from what is now Loyola University Maryland. He received a master’s degree in 1976, then obtained a second master’s from St. John’s College in Annapolis.

He served in the Navy as a quartermaster aboard the submarine USS Grenadier. He was discharged in 1967, but remained an active reservist until 1968.

Mr. Baldwin began his teaching career in 1967 at what is now Francis Scott Key Middle School in Locust Point. Six years later he joined the faculty of what became Fallstaff Middle School in Northwest Baltimore.

“Fallstaff had been an elementary school and was about to be mothballed because it was an aging neighborhood with few children,” Mr. Chrismer recalled. “Instead, it became the city’s first middle school.”

He said students in grades six, seven and eight were mixed and ungraded, except for math and English classes. “For those classes, students were grouped by ability,” said Mr. Chrismer, who retired in 2005 from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

“Gene had very high standards, and the children responded to that,” he said. “He was very conscientious and did things that other teachers didn’t have time for. He made time for them.”

“The school drew its students from the west side, and had a very diverse population both racially and economically,” Ms. Pegram said. “We all had a wonderful time. Gene was a rather quiet person and a bit reserved, but when he spoke, we listened. He had wonderful skills and was an exceptional writer.”

Mr. Baldwin was well-liked by his students, and many never forgot him.

“We’d be taking a walk in Cape May, [N.J.] and a former student would start shouting, ‘Mr. Baldwin! Mr. Baldwin!’” said his wife of 50 years, the former Judy Freimuth, a retired speech pathologist. “It gave him so much joy.”

After retiring from Fallstaff in 1997, he launched a second career as an editor when he joined Government Institutes Press in Rockville. He worked there for two years before going to work for Wolters Kluwer, formerly Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a medical publishing firm located in the old B&O Railroad warehouse at Camden Yards.

“He loved working there and patting the bricks of the building,” his wife said. “Of course, he never told anyone that his grandfather had designed it.”

The former longtime Catonsville resident liked reaching out to local historians and architects who had expressed interest in his grandfather and his work.

In 2010, he and his wife moved to Atkinson, N.H., to be closer to their daughter and her family.

He enjoyed riding his bike around Atkinson and Plaistow, N.H., and walking the trails of the Bryant Woods community where he lived and was a member of various committees. He also liked vacationing in Cape May.

Mr. Baldwin was an inveterate reader who “always had at least one book going at all times,” said a niece, Beth Hochwarth of Lutherville. “He was beloved by many, who appreciated his kindness and helpfulness, and his intelligence as well.”

Mr. Baldwin donated his body to Harvard Medical School.

“He always said he wanted to be able to say he had been accepted by Harvard, so he got his wish posthumously,” Mrs. Baldwin said.

Plans for a celebration of life gathering to be held in April are incomplete.

In addition to his wife and niece, he is survived by two sons, Topher Baldwin of Virginia Beach, Va., and Michael Baldwin of Manila; a daughter, Holly Baldwin Simmons of Atkinson; a brother, Vincent Baldwin of Springfield, Va.; three sisters, Marian Creel of Davidsonville, Ann Baldwin Hochwarth of Timonium and Betty Baldwin of Towson; and many other nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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