Alvin Baldus, 90

Published 10:31 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alvin “Al” James Baldus, 90, a distinguished veteran and public servant for the state of Wisconsin, passed away in Menomonie, Wisconsin, surrounded by his family on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017.

He was born April 27, 1926, in Garner, Iowa, and graduated from Elkton High School in Minnesota. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II, from 1944-1946. He also earned an associate’s degree from Austin Junior College in Austin, Minnesota, in 1946. Al continued to serve our nation in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, from 1951 to 1953. For his distinguished service with the famed Second Infantry Division in Korea, which included action in the Battle of Old Baldy, he received the Bronze Service Star medal. In 1959, he married Anna Lorayne “Lolly” Reiten at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie. After their marriage, they made their home in Menomonie where they raised their family.

He began a public service career in 1966, when he was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing Dunn County. In 1975, Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District sent Al to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D. C. A three-term congressman, he served in the 94th, 95th and 96th Congresses. During his time, he co-sponsored 22 bills that were signed into law. A champion of safety and community, Al worked to pass legislation that designated areas of Wisconsin to be wilderness, enabled farmer’s markets and direct sale of farm goods to consumers, established milk price supports and regulated matters of agricultural safety. Upon returning to Wisconsin, Al served as Director of Governmental Affairs for Cenex and then resumed his service in politics as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, from 1989-1997.

Email newsletter signup

He spent his retirement in Menomonie, enjoying time with his family, planting hostas, and tending the family log cabins overlooking Lake Tainter.

Survivors include his wife, Anna Lorayne “Lolly”; their children, Deborah (Kevin) McGrath, Bruce (Polly) , Rebecca Baldus, John (Amy) and Daniel; seven grandchildren, KP, Daniel (Caroline), Jackie, Holly, Erik, Aidan and Chloe; his brothers, Roy (Theresa) and LaVerne (Jo); and the family dog, Kipper.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his son, Erik, in 1972; two sisters; and three brothers.