Saturday, December 17, 2011


Richard James Baldauf, 69, of Columbia, SC passed away December 11, 2011, surrounded by his loving family and faithful canine companion Gizmo. A memorial service was held at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia.

Like me, he was born and raised in Painesville, Ohio. He was my younger brother, and I am proud of his accomplishments and contributions.

The son of the late Clarence William and Mary Ellen Baldauf, he was one of 11 children whose father died when Richard (Rick) was just 12 years old. Life was not easy from there, but Rick had drive and stamina and determination; and look how high he climbed and how many good things he did with his life, for his family and community and many people.

He attended St. Mary School and Harvey High School in Painesville, Ohio and was a U.S. Navy veteran. He lived in Texas and Virginia before moving to Greenwood, SC, where he graduated from Lander College with a B. S. degree in Business Administration.

He was employed as a District Network Manager by United Telephone of the Carolinas before moving to Columbia in 1987 to work in the administration of Gov. Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.

He retired from the State Energy Office in 2007.

An active participant in the Greenwood community, he was a member of Lander College Business Advisory Council, Greenwood High School Advisory Council, Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce. He served as chairman of People for Parks, was Board Trustee and Division Chair for United Way and was a founding organizer of Leadership Greenwood. He was actively involved with the Greenwood Community Theatre, Greenwood County Museum and St. Mark United Methodist Church.

A former chairman of the Greenwood County Republican Party, he was a member of the county committee and a delegate to numerous county and state conventions. A former Vice-chairman of the 3rd Congressional District GOP, he was also a co-chairman of the Salute to Two Presidents dinner in 1983, honoring President Ronald Reagan and Sen. Strom Thurmond; a member of the Re-elect Thurmond Committee in 1984; and a member of the Governor's Task Force on Citizen Participation in Education. This is but a partial list and does not include the loving manner in which he nurtured his family.

Rick is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Baldauf (whom he met when he mustered out of the military at Norfolk, VA), and daughters Mary Pat Baldauf and Elizabeth Anne (Beth) Baldauf, all of Columbia.

Other survivors include his brothers William of Dayton, OH; Bruce of Parma, OH; Stephen of Columbus, OH; Raymond of Pittsboro, NC; and Benjamin of Tacoma, WA; and his sisters Esther Underwood of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Rose Moore of Concord Township, OH; Mary Prise Strzelczyk of Williamsburg, VA; Ruth Anne Yokie of Cordova, TN; and special friends Mary and Scott Elliott of Columbia and their children, John Douglas, Frances Anne and Will.

He was pre-deceased by a brother, Clarence Matthew Baldauf of Chapel Hill, NC.

Rick lived his last years struggling with a neurodegenerataive disease. Before his death, he arranged for his body to be donated to the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Neuropathology Laboratory for research to help improve the care and treatment of patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases. His hope was that they could learn something from him that could save others from suffering with the same disease; or at the very least aid in effective treatment.

Rest in peace, my brother Richard; and Godspeed. I know there is a place of honor for you in the Hereafter, and someday we will meet again.