It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Alan Wren Baldwin. He died peacefully on January 11, 2023, at JourneyCare Hospice in Barrington, IL, due to complications from Open Heart Surgery. He was 85. Alan was a devoted husband, a loving father and a steadfast friend – and he will be missed by many.
Alan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 8, 1937, to parents Colonel Clarence J. and Wanda (nee Wren) Baldwin. Growing up in a military family, his childhood years were spread across the country and abroad: in Utah, Connecticut, Virginia and finally culminating in his high school years in Paris, France. Continuing in his family’s military tradition, he graduated from West Point in 1959 and proudly served as Captain in both the United States Army and the United States Air Force. During his time in the Military, Alan played a vital role in the early research and development of laser-guided missiles and smart-bomb technology. Among his many honors while in the service, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his exemplary work on the Gemini Manned Space Program – specifically for “the complete engineering support for all users of Burroughs computer support for the General Electric radio guidance system.“ (1965-1966). In June 1963, he earned his Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama
Alan’s keen interest in space, technology and engineering led him to pursue a civilian career with firms such as TRW, Northrup Grumman, AmFox, Integral Systems and Lunn Industries specializing diverse products such as semi-conductors, fiber optics, carbon fiber composites and satellites. Garnering a reputation for honesty, unwavering integrity and a sharp intellect he rose to the rank of CEO and continued his long career with investment firms such as Allen & Company.
Alan was married twice. His first marriage was to Sarah Benton (1959 – 1975 div.) and together they had two daughters, Kim and Wren. His second marriage was to Inara Kalnins (1978 – 2021 d.) who had two daughters, Ligita and Mara, from a previous marriage.
Inara was the shining light in Alan’s life. She introduced him to a world filled with color, beauty and urbane sophistication. Together they traveled the globe, enjoying art, culture, and history along the way. They could often be spotted sipping coffee or aperitifs at sidewalk cafes on the grand boulevards of Europe, enjoying evenings at the opera, or dressed-to-the-nines and elegantly dancing at Latvian galas.
Life is not always easy nor kind though, and he understood this as well. When Inara’s daughter, Ligita was tragically afflicted with Multiple sclerosis during the prime of her life, he took on the responsibility for her care and support -- and further extended that helping hand to her son/their grandson, Brian as well. His dedication continued to grow during Inara’s last decade of life, when he became her full-time caregiver. His unwavering devotion was a testament to his undying love for her.
When choosing his friends, Alan prized intelligence, intellect and wit -- for perhaps more than anything else he loved a good debate. Politics was his forte and woe be it to the unwitting opponent who did not have his/her facts and figures on hand to defend their position -- for he always did.
He was also a man who prided himself on getting things done – and getting them done right. Perhaps it was the engineer in him or his military training that instilled this in him. Whether it was building a bookcase or hanging a painting on the wall or simply making the bed with a crisp military corner, everything had to be precisely measured and completed just so.
He was also a storyteller and could regale anyone with humorous anecdotes from his childhood: tales of tow-headed young boys tipping cows or tobogganing down steep slopes on flimsy buck boards; school breaks and summers spent picking potatoes and sugar beets; or tales that illuminate the unique life of a child living on a miliary base – such as when he and his brother Stan snuck onto the firing range and collected so many spent artillery shells in their pockets that their pants fell down as they tried to run home. Or the trials and tribulations of his underdog basketball team in France who wore mismatched cast-off uniforms and practiced in an empty swimming pool, yet nearly clinched the title in the end.
Looking back at Alan’s life, it’s clear that he had many more stories to tell and share with all of us. He touched so many lives – be it family, friends, neighbors or even employees whom he mentored - with genuine love, care and friendship. He leaves behind a living legacy of daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren as well as his sister Sidney and his many friends who will carry his memory with them and keep him alive in all their hearts.
Alan is survived by his daughters Kim Rouse, Wren McNiel & Mara Kalnins; his grandchildren Brian Estrada, Jessie McNiel, Nicholas McNiel, Cameron Rouse and Taylor Rouse; his great-grandchildren Benji and Carter and his sister Sidney Miller.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Inara Baldwin, his daughter Ligita Estrada, and his sibling Stanley Baldwin.
In lieu of flowers please send any donations to: The Wounded Warrior Project.
Visitation will be Monday, January 30, 2023, from 1 p.m. to time of military honors at 2:30 p.m. all at DeFiore Funeral Home, 10763 Dundee Road, Huntley.
The service will be streamed live on the DeFiore Facebook page www.facebook.com/defiorefuneral
For further information please contact the funeral home at 847-515-8772 or online condolences may be directed to www.defiorefuneral.com
Please leave a video condolence by entering your name and click the "Record" button below. You can always preview your video prior to submitting it. Please note that you may be prompted to allow DefioreFuneral access to your camera.
Our world is saddened with Alan’s passing. In Baltic lore, a great oak has fallen. We will miss Alan & Inara, grateful that we have known them for over 4 decades. Our hearts go out to Kim, Mara, Wren & the entire multigenerational family with great love and prayers.
Our deepest condolences ro his entire family and vast number of friends. We were privileged to have known him for many years and having spent many late nights at the dinner table in deep discussions. His wealth of knowledge was unparalleled yet his mind was open and giving. He and Inara were true sole mates and complement each other like no other. All of our lives are richer for having known him, just taken too soon.