Memorial for Sgt. David Baldwin: Friends, family, colleagues reflect on his service, sense of humor

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - Thousands of friends, family and colleagues in the law enforcement community gathered Monday to honor the memory of the Jefferson County deputy killed in a crash on Highway 93 last week.

The memorial for Sgt. David Baldwin began at 10 a.m. at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield.

"He was doing what he loved, serving his community while riding his motorcycle," Pastor Brian Young said.

The opening prayer was followed by a performance of the song "Let the Music Play" -- written and composed specifically for Baldwin in the days after his death.

"Though you're not here I'm reminded of you every time I hear the music play," a friend sang.

The pastor shared stories of Baldwin's mischievous childhood -- including his habit of pilfering candy from stores as a boy and his love of pulling pranks.

Baldwin married his first wife, Stephanie, in 1990 and adopted a son named Joshua. Baldwin cared for Stephanie during her 2-year battle with cancer before she died.

"Josh said in serving his dear wife, his dad became the epitome of a selfless giver," Young said.

"Never let a day pass without expressing how much the ones you love mean to you," the pastor quoted Baldwin as saying.

Baldwin met his second wife, Crystal, on Match.com. She loved to ride motorcycles. Her profile said "Will trade food for motorcycle work."

Crystal said she planned it to be a quick meeting but it turned into a 3-hour conversation -- and she was instantly drawn to him, even as he talked about the death of his wife.

"A lot of positive things came out of that valley of despair," the pastor quoted Baldwin as saying. Baldwin told Crystal he discovered his first wife's deepest needs and wishes during the time he spent with her as she struggled with cancer.

Baldwin's son, Josh, was next to speak at the service.

"When I try to look for words that aptly embody my dad's character I quickly have a list of what I hope to be as a man,"  said Josh, who is a young adult. "Strong, fun, hard-working, honest, full of joy, full of honor and integrity, well-respected and driven by passion. I hope to be all these things some day and I believe I can because I had an amazing father to show me the way."

"Dad lived for a purpose beyond himself," Josh added. "I never saw my dad give up on anything."

Baldwin's wife, Crystal, spoke next, thanking everyone for the outpouring of love and support.

"We've been laughing as much as we've been crying. And if you knew Dave, you'd understand that," Crystal said. "It's really important that we celebrate Dave's life today. And forever. Because that's what he was about."

Crystal followed with humorous stories about their first date, his irresistible personality, meeting his co-workers and the best birthday gift he ever gave her -- creating a "magical forest" of lighted Christmas trees.

Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink said Baldwin reminded him of the inscription on the National Law Enforcement Memorial, "It's not how these officers died that made them heroes, it's how they lived."

"Dave wore that badge with pride, humility and purpose," Mink said. "Dave Baldwin was the embodiment of the motto 'serve and protect.'"

Baldwin is also survived by his parents Roy and Armeda Baldwin, his older brother Bob and his younger sister Chris.

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