Mary Ellen Baldwin passed away Friday evening, April 29, 2011. Mary Ellen was born in Meriden, Conn., on August 28, 1935, the daughter of Margaret and Walter Burns.
Mary Ellen is survived by her brother, Robert Burns of Melbourne, Fla., and her three children, Cheryl Choate of Sacramento, Ransom Baldwin of Finksburg, Md., and Robert Baldwin of Placerville, as well as grandchildren Bobby and Andrew Choate, Leland, Rebecca and Sean Baldwin, and Nick Baldwin. She is also survived by her foster daughter, Angel McCloskey, and her daughter, Nicole Starr.
She was predeceased by her husband of 50 years, Lee Baldwin, professor of animal science at UC Davis. Mary Ellen was a mother to not only her own children, but welcomed students, visiting faculty, friends and a cast of characters into her home throughout her 49 years in Davis.
Professionally, Mary Ellen was a commercial property management specialist for Taormino and Associates and worked for Arnold Real Estate as their relocation director. Always active in the community, she was honored in 1985 as a parent volunteer by the Davis PTA for her service on the Student Welfare Board. Mary Ellen carved a niche managing election campaigns for local candidates for the Davis City Council, Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Superior Court Judge and the California State Assembly. She was ever-present as a concerned activist, campaigning as well for important community issues.
In 1991, she was selected to serve as the administrative aide to then Supervisor Helen Thomson, and served until 1992, when she was recruited to become the executive director position for the Davis Chamber of Commerce, where she served until 1997. In 1998 she joined the staff of Supervisor Lois Wolk until retiring in 2002.
Mary Ellen was recognized in 2002 as a “Yolo Champion” for her leadership, vision and commitment in serving the citizens of Yolo County. She was recognized for her particular work with the Yolo County Commission on Aging and the Yolo County Social Services Advisory Committee.
Mary Ellen was an active and enthusiastic member of the board of directors for Woodland Memorial Hospital and a contributer to the WMH Foundation. She also served as a member of the board for Citizens Who Care. She joined the Rotary Club of Davis in 1990 and was most involved with Rotary’s Meals-on-Wheels Program. She continued her involvement with the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Davis until her death.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that contributions be directed to the Lee Baldwin Family Award Endowment to support an annual graduate student award at UC Davis, specifically in the animal science department.
A Mass celebrating her life will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St. A reception will follow in the parish center.