by Karen Waddington
Longtime Duvall Council member and former Mayor Jeane Baldwin passed Thursday,
Dec. 5, away after a two year battle with cancer.
Anyone who knew Baldwin knew she was a straightforward, no-nonsense kind
of lady. “The kind of person you’d want to get to know better,”
said one admirer.
In 1977, Baldwin was appointed to a vacated spot on the Duvall City Council.
She ran for a seat in the next election in 1981 and won. In 1985 she won
the mayor’s race in Duvall and served from 1986 to 1989.
Baldwin lost her second run as mayor but was appointed to the Civil Service
Commission until a spot on the city council became vacant in 1997. She
finished out the term and ran again in 1999, was re-elected to the city
council and served until last month when she could no longer attend meetings.
Duvall Police Chief Glenn Merryman knew her well. He was hired by Baldwin
as the first full time police officer in Duvall during her term as mayor
According to Merryman, the police department was in turmoil at the time.
“Had it not been for her goals and vision I don’t know if
the police department would have survived,” said Merryman. “She
(Baldwin) was determined and she stood very tall and did what she felt
Merryman took over as Duvall’s Police Chief in 1996. “She
(Baldwin) had to make some tough decisions; she was very no-nonsense,”
he said. “If her gut told her to do it then she did.”
As a council member Baldwin served on the Public Health and Safety Committee
and felt strongly about public safety. “She cared very much about
the people who lived here,” said Merryman.
Baldwin was also involved in other activities as well. She was part of
the American Legion, the Duvall Horticulture Society, the Senior Center
in Carnation, and served on the board of the Snoqualmie Valley Community
Network which is involved in youth programs and counseling services. “She
was a big believer in providing for youth, she felt strongly about that,”
said Merryman. “She felt it was our responsibility.”
As a city council member she also supported the Duvall skateboard park,
the Glen Kuntz WRECK Center and the Big Rock Ball Park. Her husband was
involved in little league and together they were named Duvall Citizens
of the Year in 2001.
She had a lot of things she loved, and one of them was motorcycles.
Just this past summer, she had taken her Suzuki Intruder on a four-day
trip to Spokane with her motorcycle club, the Retreads. The tail fender
of her motorcycle reads “Grandma’s Toy.”
A hard core baseball fan, she took vacations in Arizona to watch Mariners’
spring training. She would bring home her own scouting reports, claims
Merryman. “We always knew what kind of year the Mariners were going
to have by Jeane’s account of spring training.”
Although her real name was Flora, she decided that Jeane, her middle name
suited her better when she discovered that her mother, who was quite ladylike,
had named her in the hopes she too would be “a lady” one day.
Merryman says that no one ever dared call her Flora.
Baldwin’s eldest son Bert, who had been living with Baldwin for
the past several years to help take care of her, told a story about his
father hurting his back while his parents were farming in eastern Washington.
His father was in and out of hospitals over a period of 18 months. His
mother cared for five children, milked the cows, did all the laundry and
kept well balanced meals on the table.
“I thought about that when I got older and I realized how hard she
had worked. She was dedicated to family and was hard working.”
Another son, Steve, spoke fondly of Baldwin saying, “I’m going
to miss her dearly. She was a wonderful mother and the world will be a
lesser place without her. She was my guiding light.”
“I look for women of strong character in my life and she was one
of those women,” said Duvall Mayor Becky Nixon who served on the
City Council with Baldwin. “Not only could she raise a family, she
could lead a city. She had the foresight to see where Duvall was going.
She made such an impact on the Duvall City Council that I will feel the
loss of her wisdom and her sense of humor. She had a straightforward way
of talking that I will miss. She was a representative, not a politician.”
A community memorial service was held at Cedarcrest High School on Sunday,
Dec. 8. The family expresses its sincere appreciation for all the support
and caring. Baldwin’s desire was that any donations go to the Duvall
Skateboard Park. Donations can be made through City Hall in Duvall.
Baldwin was preceded in death by one son, and is survived by her husband
Lloyd, three sons, one daughter, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.