Flags are flying at half staff over Muhlenberg College and the world is a little less bright and funny with the passing of Dr. Edwin R. Baldrige Jr., 83, of Luther Crest Retirement Community, South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. Ed died peacefully Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in the Luther Crest Health Care Center surrounded by family.
He was born in Hollidaysburg, son of the late Edwin R. and Marion (Trexler) Baldrige. He was the beloved husband of Georgia (Wright), with whom he celebrated 61 years of marriage on Aug. 30, 2013.
Surviving are his wife; three sons: Edwin R. III and wife, Lydia Panas, Thomas T. and wife, Susan, and Christopher W. and partner, David Skerpon; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A graduate of the Haverford School for Boys, Ed continued his education at Dartmouth College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1952. He received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in 1954 and 1963, respectively, from Lehigh University. A U.S. Army veteran, he served his country in Germany from 1955-57. After he arrived home from the service, he began his teaching career at Muhlenberg College, where he served as professor of history for 40 years until he retired in 1997. He was a charter member of the Faculty Club and served as its president from 1966-82. Dedicated to education, he served on the Parkland School Board from 1970-82 and was a former president.
Ed was a member of the Lehigh County Historical Society and served on the board and as president of the organization. He also served on the board of the Institute for Learning in Retirement and taught there for several years after his own retirement. He was a former member of the Allentown Housing Authority and a longtime member of the Allentown Kiwanis Club and Contemporary Club. He was also a member and former elder and deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown.
He was recognized with scores of honors throughout his life, including the inaugural Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg Distinguished Service Professor, the Alumni Association's award for Distinguished and Exceptional Service to the College and the Trustees' Award for Continuing Service to the College.
Dr. Baldrige was a generous and kind man with a gifted sense of humor. He welcomed all he saw with a warm smile and a quick joke. His humor, optimism and assortment of tricks and sayings live on through his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues, students and many friends, but his legacy will endure.
Friends will be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church, 3231 W. Tilghman St., Allentown, followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary.
Arrangements are by J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Allentown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Muhlenberg College in memory of Edwin R. Baldrige Jr., Attn. Development Office, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104; Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County, 4234 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, PA 18104; or the Alzheimer's Association, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA 19106.