911 shift commander Ken Baldinger exuded calm compassion
By Jerry Vondas
Published: Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011
As a shift commander for Allegheny County Emergency Services, Ken Baldinger understood the dedication, compassion and knowledge needed in answering a 911 call.
"There were holidays, including Christmas, where Dad would be working his shift," said his daughter, Lisa LaMolinare of Upper St. Clair. "And there would be times when he'd work over when needed."
Kenneth G. Baldinger of Overbrook, who had worked in emergency services since 1985, died of cancer on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, in his home. He was 62.
Once, when Mr. Baldinger was a shift commander with the City of Pittsburgh Emergency 911 Services before the city and county 911 services merged in 2005, he and a fellow supervisor remained on duty for 17 hours following a train derailment in Bloomfield, his daughter said.
"But that was typical of my father," she added. "He was a man of compassion, who could remain calm, even among the most stressful situations.
As an Allegheny County Emergency Services shift commander, "Ken was responsible for overseeing all police, fire and emergency operations on his shift," said Mr. Baldinger's supervisor, Cmdr. Henry Caparelli of Brookline. "And there were times when it got hectic at the center during an emergency, but Ken was able to exude confidence and calmness for all the people he oversaw and dealt with."
He added, "We here at the command center not only lost a valued colleague, but a close personal friend."
Mr. Baldinger's daughter also recalled her dad as the patriarch of his family and his siblings. "And being that Dad was the oldest brother, he was often called upon to handle any situation."
His brother-in-law, Bernard Roskov of Franklin Park, considered him as his best friend and a man's man.
"Ken was a man who cared for others," Roskov said. "He was willing to help you and could be counted on for whatever was needed.
"Ken was also charismatic, and that's why there was a tendency for people to come to him in any situation," Roskov added.
Born and raised in Baldwin Borough, Mr. Baldinger was one of five children in the family of Kenneth A. and Norene Franceschina Baldinger.
Following graduation from Baldwin High School in 1967, Mr. Baldinger began his career as a dispatcher, first for Hawkins Transportation and then for the P&LE Railroad prior to joining the city in 1985.
In 1971, Kenneth Baldinger married Diane Ekiert, a medical assistant from Whitehall, who was his high school sweetheart.
In addition to his daughter, Lisa, Mr. Baldinger is survived by a granddaughter, Sienna, and his siblings, Bruce Baldinger of Baldwin Borough, Cindy Nolfi of Hopewell and Jeffrey Baldinger of Whitehall.
Mr. Baldinger was preceded in death by a son, Mark Baldinger, and a brother, Gerald R. Baldinger.
Friends will be received from noon to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today in the Cieslak & Tatko Funeral Home, 2935 Brownsville Road, Brentwood.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Wendelin Church, Carrick.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.