Dr. David Baldwin of Silver Springs, FL went home to be with his Lord and Savior, December 5th, 2017. Born January 18, 1924, in New Haven, Connecticut to Harrison and Mary Baldwin, he spent many of his formative years with relatives on the Hammond Farm in Milford, Delaware. It was there that he developed a keen interest in veterinary medicine, and at age 15, performed his first surgery; de-scenting a skunk for a pet!
After high school, he enlisted in the 10th Mountain Infantry Division and trained with the “ski troops” for a winter season. With the arrival of D-Day, David was shipped, with 10,000 other infantry trained soldiers, to England to join the Army’s 69th Infantry Division as the “Battle of the Bulge” was being fought. After fighting across Germany, Dave‘s unit met the Russians and spent a year in the Army of Occupation.
Returning to University of Connecticut to finish his undergrad degree in 1946, Dave began dating Phyllis Black, and in July of 1947, the “two-became one.” They landed in Philadelphia, Phyllis for Occupational Therapy Training School and Dave to enter Veterinary School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Upon graduation, the young couple settled in New England where they established the Vermont-New Hampshire Veterinary Clinic in Dummerston, Vermont. During these years they raised two boys and two girls, along with numerous foster children, while building the Clinic into a thriving three-man practice. Today the VT-NH Veterinary Clinic, having celebrated its 65th anniversary, is the largest clinic in the state of Vermont, employing seven veterinarians and numerous employees. During the “Vermont years” of 1951 – 1981, Dave was very active in community services, including the local school board, church eldership, Gideons, and the Brattleboro Rotary Club, where he served as President in 1963. Dave was also active as a teacher at Windham College in Putney, VT, a ski instructor, President of Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), Justice of the Peace, and Vermont Representative to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
In 1982, Dave sold the veterinary practice to his partners and moved to Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI), where he served as Veterinary Officer for the Department of Agriculture for two years. In 1984, he established the Cane Garden Bay Veterinary Clinic which thrived for the next twenty years.
In the BVI, Dave continued to be very active in Rotary with the Rotary Club of Tortola where both he and Phyllis were honored as Paul Harris Fellows. His Rotary activities included Historical Sites projects, organization of mangrove plantings, KATS (Kids and the Sea), Fun Car Rallies, Prostate Screening Volunteer, “Welcome” sign placements, School playground development, and many more.
In 1985, Dave and Phyllis established Agape Cottages in Cane Garden Bay. What began as a modest “Bed and Breakfast”, grew and expanded over the next 30 years into an eight-cottage vacation rental property, designed and built by Dave and local craftsmen. He and Phyllis delighted in many community activities for Cane Garden Bay, including organizing the first “Green-up Days” (1979-1984), a Neighborhood Crime Watch program, meals for shut-ins, and a vibrant prison ministry. Other interests included sailing, scuba diving, Bridge, painting landscapes, dancing, gardening, fishing, farming, crisis counseling, and hosting Sunday morning fellowship services in their island home. In 2000, daughter Donna and husband Tom Abraira took over the running of Agape Cottages so Dave and Phyllis could enjoy more worldwide travel.
After the passing of his beloved Phyllis in 2002, Dave could be found guiding archery hunters in Montana with his son Jay, visiting his missionary daughter Diane and her husband Jon in Kyrgyzstan, and helping his Vermont-based son Scott and his wife Kate build a dock on Lake Champlain, Vermont.
In 2007, Dave bought a 7-acre property in Silver Springs, Florida, and quickly settled into local activities, including local politics, church, The Gideons International activities, the Forest Tea Party and the never-ending improvements to “Doc’s Ranch.” Dave married Catherine Swain in September, 2011.
Dave, (aka Doc, G-Pop, Grampy-Doc) passed away as he lived, surrounded by friends and loved ones in the home of his devoted caregiver, Connie Hawkins.
He is survived by his sisters, Marjorie Godwin and Eleanor Higgins of Phoenix, AZ, second wife, Catherine Baldwin of Rockport, IL, children Scott and Kate Baldwin of Burlington, VT, Donna and Tom Abraira of Mt Dora, FL, Diane and Jon Post, currently of Nepal, and beloved daughters-in-law Sandra Baldwin of Wasilla, AK and Sally Perry of Dummerston, VT. His life is also celebrated by his 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 pm, January 18th, 2018 at The Ocala Chapel of Baldwin Brothers Funeral Home. On January 19th, at 1 pm, a Military Committal service will be held at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.
In lieu of flowers, the Baldwin Family requests monetary contributions be made payable to “Rotary Club of Tortola Relief Fund” (in Dave Baldwin’s memory). These funds will be dedicated to restoring and equipping the Ivan Dawson Primary School in Dave’s beloved Cane Garden Bay, still devastated from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Contributions should be mailed to: Lynette Harrigan, c/o BVI Tourist Board, 1 West 34th St, NY, NY 10001