Alvin “Al” James Baldus, a distinguished veteran and public servant for the State of Wisconsin, passed away in Menomonie surrounded by his family on Thursday, 02 February 2017, at the age of 90. Born April 27th, 1926 in Garner, Iowa, and graduating from Elkton High School in Minnesota, Al served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during WWII from 1944-1946. He also earned an A.A. 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 1951-1953. For his distinguished service with the famed 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, which included action in the Battle of Old Baldy, Al received the Bronze Service Star medal. In 1959, Alvin married Anna Lorayne “Lolly” Reiten at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie. After marriage they made their home in Menomonie where they raised their family.
Al began his career in public service 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 DC. A three-term Congressman, Al served the people of Wisconsin in the 94th, 95th, and 96th Congresses. During this time he cosponsored 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 to 1997.
Al spent his retirement in Menomonie, enjoying time with his family, planting hostas and tending the family log cabins overlooking Lake Tainter.
He is survived by 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.
Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie with Rev. James Kurzynski officiating, and with Military Honors provided by the Menomonie Veterans Honor Guard. Burial will be held in the spring in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Tuesday at the Rhiel Funeral Home in Menomonie and one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday.
Memorials may be given to, Stepping Stones of Dunn County or to the donors choice.