John H. Baldwin

March 8, 2018 ~ March 8, 2018
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John Harrison Baldwin, known to many simply as “Beals”, of Provincetown, MA, died peacefully on March 8th, 2018 at JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, MA, surrounded by loving family. The cause was an aggressive form of dementia. He was 76. John was born on October 29th, 1941 in Brockton, MA to Willard Homer and Harriet “Bev” Goodspeed (Chase) Baldwin. He grew up with his three siblings in Longmeadow. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from A.I.C. and a Master’s degree in Education from Springfield College. He also held a 100 ton Captain’s license. John was drawn to the waters of the Cape early on. He began diving in 1973 harvesting lobsters and scallops in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod. He earned his commercial diving certification in Ft. Pierce, FL and went on to “break out” as a diver working on the Mississippi River out of New Orleans. He continued his professional diving career working on oil platforms in the South China Sea off the Philippines, and later worked for the Boston Pile Driver’s Union, Local 57 on the “Big Dig” project in Boston. Baldwin also performed regular dive maintenance at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth. He came to be the oldest active diver in the union and was very fond of all his diving buddies. The call now is “diver down.” John could frequently be seen coming in off the water with a load of lobsters or clams in his Boston Whaler the “Willie B.” or later on his lobster boat “Chase”. He sailed his 30 foot trimaran “Goodspeed” to Florida and back several times. He had more adventures than a cat with nine lives.He was once hit by a train in New Orleans, dragged 160 yards and lived to write the story. He was an avid reader and writer He was proud of his articles published in Skin Diver and Multihulls magazines. As a well-known shell fisherman and seafood diver, Baldwin contributed in a lasting way to the vitality of the Provincetown and Cape Cod fisheries. John served on the Provincetown Shellfish Advisory Committee for many years and assisted with the creation of the Aquaculture Development Area, through which he proposed projects to increase the surf clam population. He was able to secure several government grants to experiment with deep water aquaculture. He never met a bivalve he didn’t love or protect – sea, surf, butter or baby clams. “Beals” (called “Barnacle Beals” by sister Betsy) always had a story to make you laugh, a smile on his face, and a positive attitude. He had a way of making everyone feel as if they were the most important person in the room. A creative free spirit always excited about a new idea, whether it be a new way to grow and harvest clams, or a vision of a car free Cape Cod. He was always “California dreaming” as he called it. He was beholden to no one and lived his life exactly the way he wanted. He was a true icon on and under the waters of Cape Cod. “As does the clam, then so do I. In shadows deep, I never sigh. Without a doubt, I am, I am just as happy as a clam.” John is survived by his beloved and devoted son Jason Baldwin (Melissa) of Riverview, FL. Jason is also a professional diver. He has two cherished grandchildren, Chase William and Clara Isabella. He is the brother of Betsy and Sallie Baldwin of Longmeadow, MA and Steve Baldwin (Carin) of West Springfield MA. He leaves nieces and nephews, Amanda Mayock, Adam Baldwin, Kristin and Todd Andrade. He also leaves his dear friend and companion of many years, Nancy Jacobsen of Provincetown. John had a special “sweet spot” for grabbing lobsters in the 90’ deep seas off Race Point. A memorial service will be held when the weather is warm. His ashes will be returned home to those waters off Race Point. To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit

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