Sally Baldwin, long- time resident and staunch supporter of San Gabriel, passed away last evening, April 4, following a long illness.
By Cheryl Cabot
Her husband Harry and daughter Kendall were by her side. Sally was honored as San Gabriel’s Outstanding Older American for 2021, for being actively involved in service to the community. City Councilmember Denise Menchaca, a long-time friend, said, “The passing of Sally Baldwin is too heartbreaking to put into words. She was a very close friend of mine. Sally self-appointed herself as my Tia and I so embraced it.
She loved her family, her Church, her former students and especially San Gabriel so very deeply. When she was honored as our 2021 Older American for our City, she was beyond thrilled. Because of covid, in lieu of being the Grand Marshall for our 4th of July parade, our Police and Fire did a drive by to present Sally with her plaque – she so loved our first responders and shared that this was one of the most memorable moments in her life.”
Mayor Tony Ding remembered “After I got elected to the City Council she became a strong supporter and encouraged me. I really appreciated that.”
Born in Long Beach, Sally Kendal grew up in South Pasadena where she went to high school.
It was at UCLA where she met and married “her hero,” Harry Baldwin, in 1960. Some traveling ensued while Harry was in the military, but Sally loved to travel. With Harry on the San Gabriel City Council for 17 years they also traveled to a lot of meetings.
They lived in San Gabriel for 50 years, or “a long time,” as Sally said. They raised their two children in San Gabriel: a daughter, Kendall, who is married and a successful businesswoman, and their son, Greg, a touring musician and song writer.
In addition to traveling, and raising a family, Sally had a 28-year teaching career in San Gabriel. She started teaching in McKinley School until the 6th grade was moved to Jefferson Middle School, so she moved with them. She said, “I was just in heaven. Nobody liked that age group, but I did for some reason. I understood their frustrations and I think I was like that most of my teenage life. I was heartbroken when I had to retire due to health issues.”
When she wasn’t traveling around the world with Harry, volunteering filled her days. Asian Youth Center was her “baby”. She came to the Asian Youth Center (AYC) when they were on the second floor of a church in Rosemead, and served as President for several years until they finally got a building in San Gabriel, and from there it grew and grew.
Sally joined the San Gabriel Valley Music Theater and the Shakespeare League in Pasadena, which does musicals every year, soon became President and was in about five shows. Another activity especially close to her heart was the Church of Our Savior. She served as an usher and a Lay Eucharist Minister.
On June 15th, last year, Sally was honored in her front yard. Mayor Chin Ho Liao and Councilmember Denise Menchaca awarded Sally a certificate of commendation. Several police officers and members of the fire department were also in attendance.
During the brief ceremony, neighbor Hannah Riley said, “Sally loudly announced, ‘I hope the neighbors don’t think this is a drug bust.’” Amid the laughter and tears (yes, I caught Sally crying), her adoration of her city and its public servants was obvious. And just as I do, her city adores her right back.”
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