Mr. Allen R. "'Big Al'" Baldwin

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(News Article) Allen R. Baldwin, Jr., a local lawyer who chaired the Wood County Democratic Party for decades, died Sunday in Bridge Hospice. He was 65.

Mr. Baldwin had been ill with diabetes for a long time and suffered a knee injury early last year that further compromised his health, said his son, Nicholas. He had been in hospice care for several weeks.

Known as "Big Al," Mr. Baldwin led a party that, then as now, was in the minority in Wood County.

Michael Zickar, who succeeded him as party chairman in 2007, described him as an authoritative leader who was involved in the party's activities, from recruiting to campaigning.

"He could be abrasive at times, but also sweet and tender too," Mr. Zickar said.

Mr. Baldwin was a graduate of Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green State University and, in 1978, the University of Toledo law school.

After five years as vice chairman, he succeeded Lee Knorek as Wood County Democratic chairman in 1982, then relinquished the post in 1984 when he ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner.

Mr. Baldwin was re-elected to head the county party the following January and led it for 22 years.

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Ferguson; brother, Donald; and sons, Nicholas and Benjamin.

There will be no visitation. A Celebration of Life gathering of family and friends is set for 12:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Simpson Garden Park Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave.

The family suggests tributes to the Al Baldwin/?Wood County Democrats Scholarship at BGSU or to Bridge Hospice.

Contact Blade Staff Writer David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.
Published in Toledo Blade on Sept. 18, 2013
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