Richard 'Dick' Baldwin

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alaska pioneer Richard "Dick" Baldwin died Wednesday, May 20, 2009. He was 78.

Per his wishes, his remains were cremated.

A memorial gathering open to the public will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association Building on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Mr. Baldwin was born to Edward and Hilma Baldwin in Oregon on July 26,1930. In 1942 his folks moved the family, including Dick's brother, Roy, to Sitka for commercial fishing opportunities. In 1948 they moved to Palmer to open a seed and feed store. They also decided to publish a quarterly magazine called the Alaska Star offering an avenue to discuss state issues and share Alaskan stories. While attending high school in Anchorage Dick began to gather and package a small assortment of wild Alaskan seeds for his senior year 4-H Club project. His father, Ed liked that idea and so he continued to gather and sell wildflower seeds for his feed store. After Ed's death, Dick took up the seed gathering and selling full time under the name Baldwin Seed Company, which later became Seeds of Alaska.

In 1956 Dick met and married Ann Mosquito and they began a family. In the late 1950s they relocated to the Kenai Peninsula to homestead and raise their family in Coho. Their young family included James, Kenneth, Catherine, Fredella, Roy and Allan. During the summer Dick was employed by Columbia Ward Fisheries as a tallyman and in 1964 he became an operator for Soldotna Power and Light and so the family moved off the homestead into Soldotna. For a number of years Dick managed the Peninsula Greenhouse for Kearlee Wright. From 1969-1984 Dick and his family spent the summers commercial fishing in Tuxedni Bay.

He wrote and printed several books including, "Founding of Seal House," "Kaliguak," "Kawerak" and "Growing Alaska Natives."

"Throughout his life he was a horticulturalist, generator operator, commercial fisherman, printer, commercial hand pack salmon and meat company owner, builder, author, actor, farmer, gold panner, fly fisherman, and beekeeper; but the vocation he was most proud to claim was 'I'm just a farmer, really a gardener,'" his family said.

Mr. Baldwin was preceded in death by his father and stepmother, Ed and Demaris Baldwin; mother and stepfather, Hilma and Stanley Herman; first wife of many years, Ann Baldwin; son, Kenneth Patterson and daughter, Fredella Baldwin.

He is survived by his brother, Roy Baldwin and his wife Sharon; sons, James, Roy and Allan; daughter, Catherine; 11 grandchildren; and many great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

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