January 6, 2020

John D. Baldwin, M.D.

John Dewey Baldwin, age 89, of Lincoln, passed away peacefully December 11. Born in Omaha to Dewey and Mabel (Mortensen) Baldwin, John graduated from Benson High School in 1948 and earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 1955. In 1963, following two years of service at Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base and a residency at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, Dr. Baldwin began his 50-plus-year career as a board-certified psychiatrist in Lincoln.

In the mid-1960s the CIA tried to recruit the young doctor, but John declined. At 6’4” and 300 pounds, he joked that he was too conspicuous to be a spy. Instead, John used his keen powers of perception, notorious candor, and practical compassion to help thousands of Nebraskans achieve greater mental health and peace of mind.  Dr. Baldwin served on the attending staff of both Bryan Memorial Hospital and (then) Lincoln General Hospital for over 30 years. Dr. B, as many of his colleagues called him, was chairman of Bryan’s psychiatry department from 1965 to 1974, and again in the 1990s. He sat on the hospital’s executive committee for 20 years. He served as Bryan Hospital’s chief of staff in 1977 and 1978.

In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Baldwin served as associate psychiatry professor for the UN College of Medicine from 1975 to 1979, and as clinical associate professor from 1979 to 1990. He was awarded a Distinguished Life Fellowship by the American Psychiatric Association in 1994 and again in 2003. The Nebraska Medical Association honored him with a 50 Year Certificate in 2005.  Destined to be a sportsman, John started fishing at age 2. For decades, he and his buddies spent a week each June fishing in Canada or Alaska. The poker club John started in 1964 lasted for more than 50 years. He also enjoyed golf at the Lincoln Country Club as well as theater, art and, of course, Husker football. John outlived most of his large circle of friends, memorializing the humor and friendship they shared for years.  An active community member, Dr. Baldwin served on the boards of the Family Service Association, Houses of Hope, and other organizations. Over many years, he donated generously to the Lied Center, Nebraska arts and culture, and community mental health organizations.

Though John lived his entire life within 100 miles of his birthplace, he explored over 40 countries on 5 continents and visited nearly every state in the union. An avid reader, after retirement he always had a stack of detective novels near his recliner. In the last years of his life, John enjoyed frequent visits with his adult children, accomplished grandchildren, and promising great-grandchildren.

John was married four times. He had four daughters with his first wife, Teri Kovach (1933-1982, married 1952-1966). He had another daughter with Linda Baldwin (Melinda Zeck Schafer, 1939-2019, married 1967-1991). Following the death of his third wife, Joyce Cartmill (1930-2003, married 1992-2003), John wed Camille DeVriendt Hraba (1944-2019, married 2004-2019). Colleagues for decades, John and Camie served together on the staff of Lancaster County Community Mental Health Center until their retirement. Dr. Baldwin published his book Marriage Without B.S. in 1979. The last year of his life he said he’d rewrite a lot of it given the chance.

John Baldwin is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Camille Baldwin; his daughter Lisa K. Baldwin (1955-2012), and Lisa’s husband, Neil H. Irving (1945-2017). Survivors include daughters Stella Archer (Los Angeles), Erica Baldwin (Talent, OR), Elizabeth Wolf (Steven McFadden; Lincoln, NE), and Alexandra Baldwin (Redmond, WA); grandchildren Katherine Lauer (Chris Lauer; Charlotte, NC), Ethan Graham (Los Altos, CA), and Zoe Mower, Eli Mower, and Lucas Frohring (Redmond, WA); and great-grandchildren John, Mary, Margaret, Joseph, Thomas, and David Lauer (Charlotte, NC).

A celebration of Dr. Baldwin’s life will be held Wed., Jan. 15, at 11 a.m. at Wyuka Funeral Home, 3600 “O” Street, followed by a reception. The cremains will be inurned at Wyuka Cemetery. Memorial contributions to Tabitha Foundation Hearts of Gold, 4720 Randolph St., Lincoln, NE 68510.


  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    My heart is with you in your loss. What a fine life your beautiful father had and what a contribution he made to society. Que duerma con los angelitos.

  2. Dr. Baldwin was, first and foremost, a good and a kind man. I’m glad he lived in this world.

    I was fortunate to have been Dr. Baldwin’s patient over the many years I’ve struggled with mental illness. He was extremely professional, intelligent and impressively knowledgable about all sorts of things. When asked for his honest opinion that was exactly what he gave, but it was tempered with good humor and a hardy wisdom. I never doubted that he respected me as a patient and valued me as a human being. I knew he genuinely wanted me to survive and prosper. That gave me something to hang on to through the roughest of times.

    his professionalism more than anyone I’ve known

    • Thank you Frank!


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