Former ARRL General Manager and IARU President Richard Baldwin, W1RU (SK)
Richard “Dick” Baldwin, W1RU, of Damariscotta, Maine, passed away on Thursday, June 21, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 92. An ARRL Charter Life Member, Baldwin capped a long career on the ARRL staff with service as General Manager from 1975 until his retirement in 1982. He served as Secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) from 1976-1982. After retirement, he continued his involvement as a volunteer, serving as IARU President from 1982-1999 and as ARRL International Affairs Vice President from 1982-1986.
According to his daughter Judy, Baldwin’s life revolved around telecommunications. He first became licensed in 1934 as W1IKE. An Amateur Extra class licensee, he earned DXCC, WAS and WAC, as well as membership in the ARRL A-1 Operator Club. A graduate of Bates College in Maine, he earned an MS in Physics from Boston University in 1948. Baldwin spent five years in the US Navy during World War II. In March 1943, while serving as Communications Officer aboard the USS Coghlan, he participated in the longest American naval daylight battle of the war: the Battle of the Komandorski Islands. After the war he served in the US Naval Reserve, achieving the rank of Commander.
Baldwin began his career at ARRL Headquarters in 1948 as an Assistant Secretary. After a brief hiatus to work in the private sector in the early 1950s, he returned in 1956 as Managing Editor of QST, where he was responsible for production of the monthly member journal and all ARRL publications. In 1963, Baldwin became Assistant General Manager and almost immediately got involved with international matters. Dick organized the Intruder Watch one year later, and served as the ARRL Liaison between the amateurs who monitored the bands and the FCC. He was named by the ARRL Board to succeed John Huntoon, W1RW, on Huntoon’s retirement as General Manager, the position now titled Chief Executive Officer, in 1975. In total, Baldwin wrote 234 articles and columns for QST.
ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, who succeeded Baldwin as General Manager in 1982, observes that Dick is responsible for much of Amateur Radio’s success in retaining and expanding its international frequency allocations. “Beginning in 1964, strengthening our position at the International Telecommunication Union in preparation for what ultimately became the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference, was a major preoccupation in Dick’s life. He played a key role in developing and implementing the strategy that led to success. Sitting at Dick’s elbow in the years leading up to WARC-79 was an extraordinary learning experience for which I will always be grateful.”
As IARU President, Baldwin led the development and adoption of a new IARU Constitution and oversaw the continued strengthening of the IARU as the spokesman for Amateur Radio at the ITU and in regional telecommunications organizations. In 1999, he was named IARU President Emeritus for his service to the IARU and the Amateur Radio Service.
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of IARU President Emeritus Richard Baldwin,” said IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH. “Dick was instrumental in securing new HF allocations at 10, 18 and 24 MHz during WARC-79. He was a key figure in the work of the IARU, and the Amateur Radio Service is in a better place today because of his leadership.”
Upon his retirement in 1982, Baldwin and his wife Phyllis moved to Maine where he became immersed in the local community. He was active in the Pen Bay Amateur Radio Club, the Bremen Historical Society and the Bremen Fire Department. He was also the Past President of the Maine Wood Carvers Association. Baldwin was a fan of Dixieland jazz -- particularly the music of Louis Armstrong -- astronomy and sailing. Sailing in his 35 foot ketch Endurance, named in honor of his hero Sir Ernest Shackleton, he taught himself how to navigate using a sextant. Baldwin also climbed Mt Katahdin many times.
In 1991, Baldwin received the Hall of Fame Award from the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA). In 1992, he was named the Dayton Hamvention Amateur of the Year. In 2003, he was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.
Baldwin is survived by his wife Phyllis, daughter Judy and son Glenn. A memorial service is planned for 11 AM Friday, June 29 at Second Congregational Church in Newcastle, Maine. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the ARRL Second Century Fund, c/o ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 (please contact ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart , K1MMH, for assistance via e-mail or by phone at 860-594-0397) or to the Maine Wood Carvers Association, c/o Barbara McCutcheon, Treasurer, 13 Liberty St, Fairfield, ME 04937.