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."