Friday, May 11, 2012


RAYMOND JOHN BALDAUF, age 70, died April 28, 2012 in the North Carolina home he and his wife Nan had built together years ago. He died from cancer, extending his life far longer than any of his doctors had predicted.
Born and raised in Painesville in northeast Ohio, he was the son of the late C.W. and Mary E. Baldauf. He entered the U.S. Army at age 17. After serving his term of enlistment, he apprenticed with A.B. Coppinger of the northeast Ohio area to master drywall finishing. In his North Carolina community, he became well known and well respected in his trade, both for his expertise and his work ethic.
He married the former Nanette "Nan" Simmons of Painesville Township, and in 1978 they moved to Livonia, MI. Most of their years, however, were spent in North Carolina near the small town with which the pair had fallen in love during a road trip. With Nan at his side, Ray, a self-taught builder, constructed his home and all its picturesque outbuildings, including a guest house and gazebo and a screened haven in his woodland. He also installed and maintained hiking trails on his wooded acreage.

Ray loved the outdoors and, appropriately, his memorial service was held in the gardens on his property. He also enjoyed being physically active, both in working hard and in running as a hobby. He ran six marathons, running the Boston Marathon twice.
At the age of 60, he renewed his long interest in amateur radio and earned an Amateur Extra License (A14LC). He enjoyed building antennas and making contacts with other ham operators throughout the world.
Ray was predeceased by his parents and his brothers Clarence of North Carolina and Richard of South Carolina. His is survived by Nan, his wife of 42 years; his sisters Rose Moore and Esther Underwood of northeast Ohio, Mary Prise Strzlczyk of Virginia, and Ruth Anne Yokie of Tennessee; his brothers William, Bruce and Stephen of Ohio; and Benjamin of Washington state, who travelled to North Carolina to help with the care of Raymond during the last four months of his life; and 15 nieces and nephews, and 13 great-nieces and great-nephews.

Knowing the treasured extra years Ray gained during his valiant fight against his illness, we of his family can say with love, admiration and conviction: "Ray made the most of his life. He ran a good race."

Thursday, May 10, 2012


One of Ray's last treasures was his last Thanksgiving, spent Nov. 2011 by him with his wife Nan, his great-nieces Maddie and Katie Moore and their parents Mark and Chris Moore. The happiness shows, and I'm glad they shared this photo with me, via iPhone./>


In this photo, you'll notice my brother Ray is on crutches. After he was diagnosed (already stage 4), he continued his running until he could run no longer; then he walked until he could walk no longer; then he moved along with crutches, then a wheel chair... When he was confined to bed and could no longer move around at all, he did his best to see and appreciate and enjoy the good people and good things around him. His spirit never left until his life was over. ANOTHER TREASURE WAS our brother Ben, who drove alone from the west coast to North Carolina to help Nan take care of Ray in his last four months. And our sister Mary who called Ben every day from Virginia to provide moral support. And Ben's family, who gave their blessings for Ben to be away on that sad mission for so long. And the angels of UNC Hospice. And no doubt many others I do not know about and apologize for not listing. Together, we all miss Ray./>

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Last night, on Saturday May 5th of 2012, the full flower moon shed a mystical light on the end of a day that had been made remarkable by the memorial service for my brother, Raymond John Baldauf.
Fifty-plus strong, we of his family and friends had gathered together with Raymond's wife Nan, under the sun at the stroke of noon. We sat in the gardens of the home that had been built so many years before by Nan and Ray, in a small, sweet town in North Carolina.
As the words and the music blended with breezes and birdsong, we celebrated his life, and we mourned his death, and we all had our memories and stories to share.
That evening, when none remained but his Nan and a few of us family members, we watched as the moon rose majestic behind the dark fullness of the Carolina pines. Its light drew fine shadows across the fields and woods.
We talked for awhile, and then one by one, with the help of a camera and a bit of imaginative magic, we willed ourselves to reach for that beautiful orb. For each of us, as the camera captured the moment, that moon seemed to lie in the palm of our hands, like a luminous marble.
When the moon was mine for a moment, I made my wish and sent my message up to Ray, that we would not forget him. Memories would keep him among us, and we would rejoice that he had played such a part in our lives. And one day we'd see him again.