Yesterday We Lost A Great Man – Bill Baldwin

Bill Baldwin

Bill Baldwin (left) receives special recognition for his contributions as Brass Bell Managing Editor from Don Ayers – Lake Dora, Florida 2013.

We are sad to report that our friend Bill Baldwin passed away yesterday in Dallas, Texas. Bill’s lifetime of contributions to the antique & classic boating hobby go well beyond his award winning work as Managing Editor of the Brass Bell – the official publication of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club. Bill touched everyone he met, and will be remembered as an extremely talented individual and a true gentleman.

Jim Frechette shared some thoughts of his friend Bill with us today. – Texx

Bill Baldwin

Bill was not only the Editor of our award winning magazine “The Brass Bell”, but he was a close personal friend who I will miss dearly, as will many of us across the country and even the world.

He had many friends from all walks of life that extended well beyond the passion of wooden boats. As a veteran of the NASA space programs of the early 1960’s he knew how to program computers before most of us even knew what computers were. And, as if that were not enough about space, he became an author of science fiction and ended up publishing at least ten novels in that genre and was still working on another.

As a restorer of one of his boats, a Cavalier “Golden Arrow”, I learned first hand of his attention to detail as we struggled to get the exact pattern of the various vinyl patterns required to get the perfect match. This drive for perfection, as well as the sneaky way he would get you to do exactly what he wanted without you knowing it, was why the “Bell” became the amazing magazine it is. Many authors of the “Bell” articles became “writers” due to Bill’s encouragement and editing skills.

Bill was the owner of several classic boats and enjoyed his life in the summer at Lake Chautauqua in upper New York state where he was a Founding Trustee of the Lawson Boating Heritage Center on that lake. Also on that lake he was a Director of the ACBS Chautauqua Lake Twin-Tier Chapter as well as a Founding President Emeritus of the RDC-Triangle ACBS Chapter. He also was a past President of the Dallas based Wooden Boat Association and a Director of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club.

I feel honored that I was able to know him, but I also am disappointed that we will no longer be able to share time together. I will miss a good friend.

Jim Frechette
President Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club

Brass Bell Cover

Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Brass Bell cover.

Fellow Woody Boater Al Benton noted on the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club website – “Although he lived in Dallas, I think Lake Chatauqua was really home to Bill. As he told it, his father must have been part of the “Institution” there and Bill spent early summers there resulting in his later buying a summer home at the lake. As told to me today by his wife Pat, it is his wish to have his ashes spread upon the lake. – Al Benton

Bill Baldwin - Paul Pletcher photo. (2)

Mr. Bill Baldwin – Photo courtesy Paul Pletcher

For a closer look into the life & times of Bill Baldwin you can check out his amazing Biography by Clicking Here.

R.I.P. Mr. Baldwin

12 replies
  1. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    Bill Baldwin will indeed be missed!! I know first hand of his encouragement to become writers for the Brass Bell as he did so with me. My prayers go out to his family and many friends. He has left very large shoes to fill!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    It would be impossible to overstate his contributions to the CCABC and to this hobby. A very sad day. 🙁

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    The Michigan chapter is saddened by the this loss of another great person in our hobby. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP Captain Bill Baldwin!

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    The first time I spoke with Bill was just a little over a year ago. I had called about wanting to write a story about American Beauty. He said he had lots of stories about restored boats, but wanted to hear more about the process of Sandi and my decision to steward such a craft. The result of his probing and encouragement was published earlier this year.

    This picture is one he did not publish, but seemed quite fond of.

    I was looking forward to getting to know Bill better. RIP

  5. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    I join the many others who are deeply saddened by the passing of Bill Baldwin.I first met him 25 or so years ago at a symposium in Cincinnatti where he was breakfasting with some other Texas wooden boaters who joined him there. The affable Baldwin invited me to join the group and it was the begining of a friendship that lasted ever after. Jim mentions Bill’s fondness for Lake Chautauqua and it was my pleasure to have been a guest in his home there and ride that lake in Merlin, Bill’s favorite Riviera. Bill’s contributions to The Brass Bell were perfection. His model, as he told us, was the New Yorker which explains why the Bell was an award winning publication while under his supervision. I could go on about my friend but let me close with condolences to Pat and the rest of the family, we’ve all lost a treasure.

  6. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    In early 2012, when a change in CCABC management and leadership occurred, the first person we called was Bill Baldwin. Bill had become estranged from the Bell for a brief period prior to this, but with new life in the club, he was very anxious to return. To put it simply, I don’t think this great club would exist today if it had not been for Bill willing to step back into the breech and resume editorship and control of our flagship publication, the Brass Bell.

    Will Baldwin back, the Bell was immediately placed on a publication schedule which has not waivered one iota since. Bill took up where he had left off and the magazine quickly became better than it ever was. Without Bill, the cornerstone of the club would have floundered, and his singular passion and commitment prevented that from happening.

    It surprised me to find, very early on in knowing him, that Bill was passionate, almost obsessive about inclusion of non-wood boats in the Bell, and the ability of our club and hobby to connect with younger folks through this policy of respect and inclusion. I thought I would find him to be one of the old guard, the wood only crowd but nothing was further from the truth.

    To be honest, the most excited, the most animated that I ever saw Bill was this past Sunnyland show, where I had stumbled across a really cool 1985 Chris Craft Stinger, of Miami Vice fame. He was all over for me for days to see this boat, photograph it and meet the owner.

    Bill was a dynamic man, not some ossified relic of a bygone era – he was progressive, very bright and very talented and had a depth of experience that I barely realized. He was a friend to me personally, to the CCABC and the hobby. He will be missed by many.

  7. Kevin F
    Kevin F says:

    I never met Bill, nor ever spoke to him. But he spoke to me. He spoke to me through his work and passion, by his dedication to the Brass Bell, through my fingers as I turned every beautiful page, through my eyes as I absorbed the wonderful stories.

    That was the power he had, to reach those he never met, to put a smile on a face that was nameless. That is a legacy.

  8. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bill back in the early 2000’s when my family and I relocated to Raleigh~Durham, NC. I went to the ACBS directory looking for local boat buddies and found Bill. He was on his way to creating a chapter in Raleigh and was happy to hear from me. Together we accomplished that goal and the RDC Chapter is still going strong.

    During that time Bill and I had a standing “coffee date” every Tuesday morning, often times more frequently. It was around the time “Tuesdays with Morrie” was out and I drew many parallels from their friendship. I learned a lot from Bill.

    I also had the pleasure of spending time at Bemus Point and got a tour of the Chautauqua Institute from Bill as well as LM Marine. I grew up boating on Keuka Lake, a “rival” (not really) finger lake to Chautauqua, Bill delighted in calling it “Cucumber Lake, or whatever”.

    Here’s a picture of the proud day that Bill and I received our Chapter in Raleigh. I apologize to Bill for my horrible use of comma’s and apostrophe’s (it drove him crazy) and I will raise a Peroni for him tonight in his honor. I will miss you Borodov! RIP.

  9. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    As we get older we don’t talk much about having Heroes in our lives. Bill Baldwin was mine! I have been blessed in life by volunteering with a True Hero over these past few years. I find it difficult to maintain composure as I key this in while clearing my eyes enough to see this tiny screen. So I’ll end this here.
    My deepest and most sincere condolences to Pat and to Bill’s family, and to his many close friends. Bill will be desperately missed, and his legend will live on.

  10. jeanlouis Siary
    jeanlouis Siary says:

    I was a friend of Bill while he was in North Carolina, he was my neighbor, to know him and be his friend was one of my greatest privilege, Bill was a concentrate of class and kindness, I was instantly seduced by his outstanding personality, and I miss our long philosophical conversations, near a glass of grand Marnier. Bill I know you can read this feelings go way beyond the flesh, thank you for your friendship, be well , you did a great job while you were here with us, looking forward to see you in the other world eventually.

  11. Rick Drew
    Rick Drew says: has been hacked – looks like a spammer’s PHP script. It’s now “selling” Nike rip-offs.

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