American Veteran 01

Kenneth Wayne Baldridge

August 9, 1926 ~ July 2, 2021 (age 94)

Obituary

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Kenneth W. Baldridge passed away on 2 July, 2021 at the ripe old age of 94. He now rejoins his wife of 71 years, Delma Rae Woodbury Baldridge, who passed away in 2019.
Ken wore a lot of titles in his long life: Husband, father-to-great grandfather, teacher-to [1] professor, patriarch, bishop, cowboy, salesman, volunteer, WWII veteran, scouter, traveler,
author, historian. As an educator over a 43-year period, he touched thousands of lives, but his impact on the individual, whether a family member, student, neighbor or community resident,
cannot be adequately expressed.

He was born August 9, 1926 in Modesto, California, the only child of Joseph Wayne Baldridge and Ethel Mae Turner Baldridge. He was 15 when the United States entered World War II, and
decided to serve his country even before he was old enough. He was accepted into Officer Candidate School in the US Navy, but opted out when he thought the war might be over before
he could see active duty. Ken started training as a signalman and was eventually assigned to the USS Rendova (CVE 114), a brand-new carrier escort ship.

Following the war, Ken decided to pursue a degree in Forestry and was told that “If you can stand the Mormons, Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State) has a good program.” He and a
buddy hitchhiked to Logan and took a room in the Raymond and Wanda Woodbury home, where Ken met and quickly fell in love with their daughter Delma. She agreed to marry him, but only if he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first. Delma also persuaded him to change his major to History, so in the course of a year Ken “changed my major, my religion and my marital status.” The newlyweds moved back to California, where Ken completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at College of the Pacific and began his teaching career. During this time they started a family, bringing Connie, Steven, Karen and Janet into the world.

In 1960 Ken & Delma moved the family to New Zealand, where Ken had accepted a position at the Church College of New Zealand, an LDS-owned high school. Two more sons, Tracy and
Douglas, were added to the family. After six years there, Delma persuaded Ken to return to school for a PhD, so the family moved to Provo, UT while Ken pursued doctoral studies in
history at BYU. Two years later he was hired at Church College of Hawaii (later BYU-Hawaii) and stayed for 25 years, retiring in 1993 as a full professor, department chairman, founder of the
Mormon Pacific Historical Society and community volunteer. Ken & Delma immediately accepted a call as LDS missionaries to the Canada Toronto (East) Mission, after which they
moved to Pleasant Grove, UT to be closer to most of their children now living on the mainland. Here, Ken continued his very active volunteer service, working with the AARP Driver Safety
program and the Red Cross.

About 2010 he was approached by the University of Utah Press and invited to update his doctoral dissertation, a history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Utah, for their publication.
He and Delma traveled the state extensively while Ken finessed and expanded the original work, which was published in 2019 as “The Civilian Conservation Corps in Utah: Remembering Nine Years of Achievement, 1933-1942.” His book would receive an award from the Utah Historical Society as a finalist for best Utah history book for 2020.Things slowed down a little for Ken & Delma after the book was published, although Ken continued to do some traveling. Delma began to develop some health issues, which led to her death from heart failure in October 2019. Ken decided that living in a big house by himself wasn’t useful, so he sold the house to his daughter Janet and moved to a senior center in Lehi.

Around that time the COVID-19 pandemic started up in earnest, putting further travel plans on hold. Ken moved in with Connie, then Janet for a time, but eventually moved back to the senior center. Not long after that he tested positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized, but the hospital staff thought he might as well die at home with his family and released him to his daughters’ care after only 4 days. But Ken showed remarkable resilience and recovered to almost his pre-COVID condition.

Even though he remained alert and somewhat mobile, his advancing years and the weakness brought on by COVID began to take a toll, until one Sunday after church he suffered a stroke. It
was sufficiently large to cause considerable damage to his brain, so in accordance with his wishes the family placed him into palliative care until he passed away.

Ken is survived by his six children and their spouses, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Delma and a son-in-law, Lucky
Fonoimoana.

Funeral will be held at the LDS ward house at 1541 North 1300 West in Pleasant Grove, Utah at 11:00 am Saturday, 10 July, 2021 where family and friends may attend a viewing from 9:00 -10:45 am prior to services. There will be a graveside service at the cemetery in Weston, ID, where he will be interred next to Delma. 

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenneth Wayne Baldridge, please visit our floral store.

Recording of Service


Services

Viewing
Saturday
July 10, 2021

9:00 AM to 10:45 AM
Mt. Mahogany Fifth Ward
1541 North 1300 West
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

Funeral Service
Saturday
July 10, 2021

11:00 AM
Mt. Mahogany Fifth Ward
1541 North 1300 West
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

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