TORCH LAKE TOWNSHIP – Keith M. Baldwin, 85, passed away on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at Marquette General Hospital.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Wilma. He is further survived by two sons, Dale Baldwin (Sherri) of Madison, Wis., Steve Baldwin (Jane) of Angola Ind.; one daughter, Jenny Meulemans (Brian) of Green Bay, Wis.; one sister, Joan (Roger) Holland of Palo Alto, Calif.; seven grandchildren, Katie and Spencer Baldwin, Ryan and Kristy Baldwin, Mareah, Jeremy and Elizabeth Meulemans.
He was preceded in death by one son, David Baldwin; and a sister, Thelma Baldwin.
He was born May 25, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y. Moving to Michigan in 1937, he graduated from Eastern High School, Lansing, Mich., in 1946. During his high school years, he honed his skills in radio repair and early electronics which created a lasting interest in electronics that he fostered his entire life. Keith graduated from Michigan State University in 1950 with both a degree in physics as well as a state high school teaching certificate for physics and math. While at Michigan State he was a member of ROTC and received the Distinguished Military Student Award. He met his future wife Wilma, while both were attending school there. He was commissioned upon graduation as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. Stationed first at Camp Gordon, Ga., where he trained new recruits heading overseas to the Korean War. On a very short weekend leave from the army, drove from Georgia to Michigan and back to marry Wilma in June of 1951. He was later transferred to Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he taught at Officer Signals School. After his discharge he continued to serve there as a civilian employee. Desiring a graduate degree he attended the University of Maine-Orono, receiving a master’s degree in Physics in 1955.
In his professional career he initially worked at Raytheon Research Lab in Mass. The research was centered on high power silicon diodes and early semi-conductor research. He then worked at AVCO Research and Advanced Development in MA as a senior project scientist specializing in plasma physics and missile re-entry communications. This research work took him all over the country in the late 50’s and he spent entire weeks travelling away from home. In order to spend more time with his family Keith left industry in 1963 to pursue a career in teaching and joined the Michigan College of Mining and Technology as an Associate Professor of Physics. He taught many physics classes/senior lab and served as a faculty advisor for graduate students. In the early 70’s, Keith also became involved with the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). He worked on vehicle research projects and helped to secure contracts for vehicle testing. After early retirement from MTU in 1984 at the age of 55, MTU partnered with Keith and formed KMB/Tech. He developed laboratory physics equipment marketed to physics teachers.
In the community Keith was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of the Copper Country since February 1964, serving as president as recently as 2010/11. He participated in the many projects Kiwanis does for the local community. His favorite service to the community was serving for 33 years as the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Program Coordinator. Nationally RIF recognized him in 2006 as a Volunteer of the Year and in 2008 as an ambassador of the program which featured the Copper Country Kiwanis’s RIF program as Outstanding in the State of Michigan among the 900 RIF programs in the state. Copper Country Kiwanis RIF program has been providing three free books to every third grader in the area. Keith and Wilma have also been members of The Fort Nightly Club since 1964. The Fort Nightly Club in the area started in 1937 and shares ideas through cultural, educational and social events. Keith also served as a leader for the Sea Explorers in Hancock while his sons were in their teenage years. Teaching teens how to build sailboats and sail them, canoeing and canoe races. He was always an avid sailor and after building his dream house on Portage Lake, he was able to moor his sailboat out in front of the house for many years. He enjoyed the beauty of the Copper Country every day from his front window while he was home.
He will be missed by family and friends for his loving and engaging manner and interesting conversations. He enjoyed writing poems and here is one of his.
Birth and Death.
The Bookends of Living
Spanning personal growth; love; giving
Outside the bookends on the shelf
Lie the stories beyond
A memorial service will be held at a later date in the summer of 2014. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy memorials in the name of Keith Baldwin may be directed to either Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly, 527 Hancock Ave. Hancock, MI 49930, or The Copper Country Kiwanis Club RIF Program, P. O. Box 43, Houghton, MI 49931.