LEONARD EDGAR BALDWIN
Len was born in London, England on October 26, 1925. Sadly, Len’s father died of tuberculosis when Len was only four years old. Len was also predeceased by his mother and older brother Gordon.
Uncle Gordon and Len spent a happy childhood at the Royal Russell School for Boys in South London. The school’s motto was “Not for one’s self but for all” and Len lived up to that motto his whole life. One of the highlights of Len’s trip to England in 2014 was to visit his old school and sit in the choir loft where he sang as a boy.
As a youth, Len participated in many athletics including tennis, swimming and diving, soccer and cycling. His interest in sports continued throughout his life but increasingly as an armchair participant including telling the Vancouver Canucks and Whitecaps how to play!
In his early twenties, Len decided he would like to emigrate to see what opportunities and adventures he could find. He chose Canada and eventually ended up in Vancouver. There he worked at the St. Regis Paper Company where he met and fell in love with Elsie Catto, a country girl from a big Fraser Valley family. They married on February 12, 1949. Len was well accepted into the extended Catto clan but, as a “limey”, received a fair bit of good-natured teasing from Elsie’s brothers and brothers-in-law. They completed their own family with the births of Gordon in 1951 and Kathy in 1953, followed in time by their grandchildren, Daina (Stuart), Erin (Andrew), Andrew, Teddy and Elly (Jeff).
In the mid 1950s, Len joined the Firestone Tire Company. His employment there resulted in the family moving to Saskatoon and then Calgary. After re-locating back to Vancouver in 1960, Len stayed with Firestone but relinquished subsequent opportunities to move up in the company because it would have meant leaving Vancouver and his and Elsie’s supportive extended family. He took early “retirement” from Firestone in the early ‘80s and started his own bookkeeping company Baldwin Accounting Services, which meant having to learn to use a computer as a senior citizen. He enjoyed his work and continued to keep busy with it into late 2019. Being his own boss suited Len, letting him spend more time with Elsie and his family and enjoy gardening, golfing, travelling and volunteer work (and a good beer).
When Elsie passed away in 2010, Len continued to live in the family home he and Elsie built in 1962. The love and assistance of his friends and neighbours (most especially Terri, Richard and Lettie) made it possible for Len to remain in the home he loved.
Len was a friend to all he met. He was outgoing, good natured, generous, thoughtful, honest, forthright, energetic and had a great sense of humour. He was a loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather. Throughout the 94 years of his life, he continued to make friends, young and old, but to Len nothing was more important than family. He was a wonderful role model for his children, grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He loved deeply and was deeply loved. He lives on in each of us.
Simply put, Len was a really great guy!