Calvin Benham Baldwin Jr., 91


Calvin “Cal” Benham Baldwin Jr., 91, an administrator for 33 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), died peacefully on June 28, 2017, at Kensington Park, a senior living community. A resident of Garrett Park, Md., from 1963 to 2017, he was born on Dec. 22, 1925, in Radford, Va., to Calvin Benham “Beanie” Baldwin, Sr. and Louise Delp Baldwin.

Baldwin joined NIH in 1953 and served in a number of administrative positions until his retirement in 1986: executive officer of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, executive officer of the National Cancer Institute and associate director for administration of NIH.

He received numerous honors and awards, including the DHEW Superior Service Award and the William A. Jump Meritorious Award for “exemplary achievement in public administration.” He also was NIH’s representative on the Economic Advisory Council on Montgomery County, Md., advising the county executive on various county issues, including transportation.

Baldwin became a resident of Montgomery County in 1933, when his family moved to Chevy Chase from Radford, Va. His father served in Roosevelt’s New Deal as an assistant to Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and as director of the Farm Security Administration.

Baldwin attended Montgomery County public schools, graduating from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1943. He served in the infantry in World War II in Germany and Japan. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949 with a degree in sociology and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1961, he received a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.

At the time of his retirement, Baldwin told the NIH Record, “I plan to do as I please.” And he did just that, becoming active in a number and variety of civic and community affairs. In Bethany Beach, Del., where the family has a second home, he served on the town council and as chairman of the planning commission. He also was president of the Bethany Beach Landowners Association.

In 2002, the mayor of Bethany Beach recognized his “tireless work and persistence (over 15 years)” that led to the Town’s acquisition of a 26-acre parcel, which became the Bethany Beach Nature Center. The nature trail there was named “Baldwin Trail” in honor of his efforts. Another multi-year project he helped bring to fruition was the hiker-biker trail from Garrett Park to Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park. He and a number of other community activists also helped stop the construction of a trail through a wetland area in the park.

A founding member of the NIH Alumni Association and The Children’s Inn at NIH, Baldwin was a board member of both organizations.

Throughout his life, Baldwin traveled extensively with friends and family. He hitchhiked across the country when he was 16 with close friend Tom Appleby and traveled in Europe with his college roommate. He and his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth “Betty” Baldwin, took their family on a number of road trips, including two trips across the country, a trip to Oaxaca and Mexico City, Mexico, and a trip to Quebec and Prince Edward Island, Canada. After retirement, he and Betty traveled, on their own and with Elderhostel and other educational programs, in the U.S. and to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Costa Rica.

Baldwin was an avid tennis player until age 80, which kept him active both physically and socially. He and Betty loved spending time in Bethany Beach and Capon Springs, W.Va., with friends and family. Listening to all kinds of music and reading mysteries, biographies, history, philosophy and politics were favorite pastimes. Baldwin wasn’t happy without his daily dose of news, reading his beloved Washington Post cover to cover and rarely missing the PBS “News Hour.” He also spent many years researching and exploring his family history. He and Betty were long time members of the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church.

Baldwin was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth “Betty” Baldwin, on March 16, 2017. His sister, Sally Baldwin Seitz, died in 2001. He is survived by daughter Susan Baldwin of San Diego, Calif., and her daughter Elizabeth “Lizzie” Baldwin Hall; daughter Sally Baldwin of Washington, D.C., her husband, Desson Thomson, and their sons Alex, Adrian and Andrew; and daughter Ann Baldwin Nucci of Rockville, Md., her husband, Patrick Nucci, and their son, Jamie, and daughter, Katie. They will all miss him greatly.

Memorial donations may be made to Planned Parenthood Federation of America; P.O. Box 97166; Washington, DC 20090-7166, or to the Democratic National Committee; 430 South Capitol St., SE #3; Washington, DC 20003. A celebration of his life will be held at a date to be determined. For details, contact calvinbaldwingp@gmail.com.