1954 – 2021
Dennis Baldridge passed away in Scottsdale, AZ on December 4th after a battle against cancer. He was 67 years old.
November 25, 1954 – December 4, 2021
Dennis was born November 25, 1954 in Decatur, son of Everett and Juanita Baldridge.
He attended Alan Shepherd grade school and Bradley-Bourbonnais High School, graduating in 1972. Graduated Olivet Nazarene University 1976, B.S. Music Ed, trombone & piano.
At Olivet he met the love of his life, Jane Friske; they were married in 1976, four days after graduation. They were active in music and other ministries at KKK 1st Church of the Nazarene where Dennis served as Minister of Music in the 1980s.
Dennis also holds a Masters Degree in Science Education from Olivet, and a Doctorate Degree in Church Music from Louisiana Baptist University. He worked as a musician, educator, and broadcast engineer throughout his life. He was employed at Olivet for 13 years as Director for the Science Technology Facility, and WONU Chief Engineer (CE). In 1993, he and his family moved to rural WI, where he was employed as CE for WRCO, Richland Center for 28 years. He founded a Classically Christian radio station, WCNP-FM 89.5 in 2013, serving as General Manager and CE until 2020.
In late 2017, Dennis was suddenly diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. He fought valiantly for over 4 years, continuing to lead an active life, while researching and undergoing cancer treatments, both traditional and alternative. He and Jane moved to Scottsdale, AZ in October 2021 to be near family there.
Dennis was an active member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. He was highly regarded by his professional colleagues: Chairman of SBE Chapter 24 in 2008, SBE Educator of the Year in 2013, and speaker at SBE conferences as part of their Presenters Group. He earned 5 specialized SBE certifications, and performed technical inspections throughout Wisconsin for the WBA from 2004-2021. During this time, Dennis also continued to pursue his love for music. He was active in his church as Music Director, he and Jane enjoyed singing duets, and collaborating on other musical projects, such as the Gloria Home School Choir, teaching music/worship/conducting courses at the International Academy of Music in Indianapolis, and family music presentations. Playing the harp was a new interest he discovered in 2015; he enjoyed video lessons with a professional Canadian harpist.
Also among Dennis’ varied hobbies were Amateur Radio (held Extra-class License), gardening, and working on his antique cars (’38 Packard, ’29 Model A Ford). He had a passion for the Word of God, preparing sermons for pulpit-supply preaching, and reading the works of great theologians.
Dennis is survived by his wife Jane, 5 children: Jana (Tingom) of Scottsdale, AZ, Timothy of Denver, CO, Shelley (Chicago), Mark (Cedar Rapids, IA), and Ryan (Jacksonville, FL); 12 grandchildren; brother Terry (Olathe KS), sister Sandy Jewell, (Ft. Wayne, IN).
We appreciate information supplied by Kyle Geissler
The following is from Vicki Kipp:
“One of the things that I admire about Dennis is that he pursued advanced knowledge in all of the fields that he was in, dedicating himself to learning the subject, earning certifications, and serving as a leader.
“Dennis was flush with credentials in his broadcast career: his original blue 1st Class FCC Radiotelephone License, his Extra-class Ham License (K0DB), SBE certifications (CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, ATSC3), and SBE Educator of the Year, as well as his service as an ABIP inspector after Terry Baun and as a technical presenter, Chapter 24 chair, chief engineer roles at multiple radio stations, and starting a Christian radio station, 89.5 WCNP-FM Reedsburg.
“Dennis was among the first few people to take the very difficult ATSC 3 exam in 2019 while it was still in the Beta phase and passed it, demonstrating his commitment until the end, even as the cancer progressed. I think about Dennis presenting to us one last time in September at the Broadcasters Clinic, and consider how much time and energy it must have taken him to prepare, and how exhausting that must have been for him when he was in the final three months of his illness. He gave every last bit of energy he had to serve our industry that he cared about so much.
“I think that Dennis wanted to prepare us. After that last presentation, he offered up his broadcast engineering books to us because he and Jane were moving. He talked to people about the role of ABIP inspector.
“As much as Dennis was super productive as a broadcast engineer, he also excelled in other areas of his life. Family, for example. His wife Jane was with him for SBE picnics and many other events. When Chapter 24 toured the Dane County Airport, Dennis brought his sons Mark and Ryan along. It was a cold, rainy fall night and not great for a long drive back to Hillsboro, but they were fine.
“When I saw Dennis, the first thing that he would do is ask about my kids and what we were up to. And I’d ask Dennis what he’d been up to. He’d tell me about Jane and his kids and grandkids. Then, with great humility, Dennis would casually mention that he had been conducting an orchestra, teaching at the music academy, directing a student choir in concerts, or giving sermons at church. He had whole other areas of his life that he made great contributions of time and labor to, just like he did in broadcast engineering. I feel like Dennis’s dedication to whatever he was doing was a constant in his life.
“Even with his cancer treatment, Dennis educated himself on oncology and all of the treatment options and made informed decisions. If there was a patient certification, I feel confident that Dennis would have earned that, too.”
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