Obituary of Kenneth W. Baldwin, Jr.
Kenneth W. Baldwin, Jr. passed away peacefully June 13, 2022. He had been a resident of Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community in Columbia, SC since 2016.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth W. Baldwin Sr., of Columbia and Myrtle Beach, and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. George Baldwin of Columbia.
Ken graduated in 1943 from University High School, which was located in Wardlaw College on the campus of the University of South Carolina. Service in the Army Air Corps interrupted his studies at USC, until he returned there to graduate in 1949 with a BA in Journalism.
His early newspaper experience was in Greenwood, SC where he was sports editor of the Columbia Record. He also worked for WCOS-AM- FM-TV and at WACA in Camden, SC. In 1956, he joined the reporting staff of the Norfolk, VA-based Ledger-Dispatch, a major property of what was to become the private media company Landmark Communications with newspapers, television stations and a cable TV system located across the country.
While in Norfolk he was a sports reporter and held a number of news/editing positions prior to being named Business Editor of the Ledger. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Personnel Director of the Ledger and its morning affiliate, The Virginian-Pilot, in 1963.
Landmark’s rapid growth led to the purchase of the Greensboro (NC) papers and in 1966 Ken joined the staff of the Greensboro News & Record as Public Relations and Personnel Director, as well as member of the management team. He retired in 1986. During his professional career he served as President of both the Personnel Association of the Greensboro/Guilford County Area and national Newspaper Personnel Relations Association.
After the death of his first wife, Maretha “Bobbie” Derrick Baldwin, Ken returned to the Columbia area. Although he had lived away from Columbia for nearly 50 years, family members and those who knew him understood that a part of his heart was always near his origins. Soon after returning, he renewed his ties with what was then the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at USC. When the college began a fund drive in 2008 to finance its new home at the corner of Sumter and Green streets his donation was one of the first. A suite of classrooms on the first floor now bears his name.
His prior experience as a business editor and his continued interest in journalism led to the creation of an endowed chair for a professor to teach courses with a concentration in business and financial journalism. In 2019, his generosity helped create a Social Media Interest Lab which was established by the College of Information and Communication.
Philanthropy was a way of life for him, and some of the other groups that have benefitted from his generosity were the USC College of EducationUnited Way, Habitat for Humanity, and Transitions of Columbia, SC.
In moving back to the Columbia area in 2002, he resumed his life-long friendship with college sweetheart Phyllis DeLoach and they married. They built a home in Blythewood, SC which they enjoyed for a dozen years before moving to Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community. Phyllis predeceased him in 2020. While living in Blythewood he served on the town’s Architectural Review Board and as a member of the Doko Meadows Park Foundation.
A lifelong Episcopalian, he served as a member of the Vestry, Junior Warden and chairman of the property committee at historic St. Paul’s in Norfolk and at St. Francis in Greensboro. More recently, he was a member of St. Stephens in Ridgeway, SC, and attended services in the chapel at Still Hopes while a resident there.
Ken always enriched the lives of those around him, and was known for his kindness, humility, and persistent optimism. He enjoyed golf, good conversation, and spent a great deal of his free time furthering his hobby of genealogy. Spending time with his family was always a highlight for him.
His final resting place will be in the memorial garden he helped establish at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Greensboro, NC, alongside his first wife, Bobbie.
Survivors include his daughter, Karen Baldwin Fox of Greensboro, two grandchildren, Jessica
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, PO Box 26, Ridgeway, South Carolina 29130 or USC Office of Gift Processing, Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Endowment Fund (B11412), 1600 Hampton Street, Suite 736, Columbia, SC 29208.
There will be a drop-in gathering for friends and family to celebrate his life on Tuesday, June 21 from 2-4pm at State and Frink Art Gallery, 2025 State Street, Cayce, SC.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenneth Baldwin, Jr., please visit Tribute Store