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Yale 62

Thayer 'Ted' Baldwin, Jr.

Ted BaldwinBorn: November 20, 1940
Died: December 9, 2020

Thayer (Ted) Baldwin was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, son of Thayer Baldwin, Yale Class of 1935, and Hilda Lois Grant Baldwin. His grandfather Seth W. Baldwin was a graduate of Yale College, Class of 1904. He prepared for Yale at The Taft School. His childhood was spent in both Watertown, Conn. and Hull, Maine.

At Yale Ted was a resident of Pierson College. Ted was on the WYBC Board and served as program director his senior year. He continued his support for the student radio while an alumnus, serving on the Board Governors of the Yale Broadcasting Company until very recently. He also was a member of the Debating Association. Ted was an American Studies Major.

After graduation he obtained his law degree from Georgetown Law School and then embarked on his several careers in the law, the arts and public service in New Haven.

He served New Haven as its Corporation Counsel (1976-1978 for Mayor Frank Logue and 1998-2001 for Mayor John DeStefano), and as a member of the Board of Police Commissioners. He was particularly proud of his role in creating the program of state payments in lieu of property taxes from hospitals and universities and his role in the conversion of the local water company from private entity to a regional public authority.

Ted’s careers in the non-profit world and the arts were remarkable examples of his civic contributions. He was one of the founders of the Long Wharf Theater and served as its initial executive director. He served the state as Vice Chair of the Commission on the Arts and Chair of the Advisory Board of the state Office of Protection and Advocacy for the Handicapped. He was a volunteer director of many other arts organizations. Ted also served as a Health Commissioner for the State of Connecticut.

In 2001 Ted was appointed Judge of the Connecticut Superior Court. After 7 months hearing criminal cases, Ted requested and was granted transfer to the Juvenile Division. In our 40th Reunion Book Ted described this work as “often heart rendering” but wrote, “I am pleased to be in a position where my job is to serve the best interests of children.” His dedication to the public interest was well described in his obituary published in the New Haven Register: “As a judge, he gave fair hearing to the issues of economic injustice, institutional racism, and oppression. He focused much of his efforts on gun violence, fair housing laws and juvenile justice reform.”

His private law practice also reflected his dedication to others. He fought for housing rights for the disabled and worked with organizations providing emergency medical services.

Ted also was a candidate for public office with, however, less success than he had in his volunteer charitable work. He characterized his campaigns for Congress and state attorney general as “miserably unsuccessful.” He did have the unforgettable experience attending the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a delegate from Connecticut.

Ted was married twice, first to Judith and later to Barbara. Both predeceased him but contributed to a large loving family. “I covet the time I can spend with the children. Feelings about family are the strongest for me,” he wrote. He was a dedicated father and grandfather. He was at peace when he had all of his children with him. He was generous with his joy when spending time with family and friends while participating in community theatre, dancing, playing cribbage, orchestrating clam bakes, and splashing in the waves at the beach.

Ted is survived by his sister Elizabeth Baldwin; his children Teo (wife Suzy) Baldwin, Cristopher Baldwin, Caitlin Baldwin, Jaime (husband William) Saturno, Jacob Baldwin, Sadra (husband Rashid) Baldwin and Derrick Baldwin Reyes; his grandchildren Jordan, James (Cenzo), David, Roger, Eli, Giancarlo, Pricilla, Isabella, Zephaniah, Suzanne Estelle and Nadia; his great granddaughter Raine; and his dear niece Anne Lipsitz.

Ted passed away December 9, 2020, from complications related to COVID-19.

A memorial service will be scheduled after COVID restrictions have passed and friends and family can safely come together to celebrate Ted’s spirit and commitment to family, friends, and community. Ted would feel strongly that those who want to honor their connection to him and his work, may direct donations to organizations of their choosing which they believe honor his legacy.

The Iovanne Funeral Home, Inc., is in care of his arrangements.

– Robert G. Oliver