CRAVEN COUNTY - A pastor died in Craven County over the weekend after his motorcycle crashed during a charity ride.
The Highway Patrol has identified the victim as 68-year-old Richard Baldwin, of Oriental, who was a pastor at Amity Christian Church in Grantsboro in Pamlico County.
According to troopers, Baldwin was participating in a charity ride for the Journey of Hope Cancer Support Center at about 10:40 a.m. Saturday on Aurora Road in Craven County, near the Beaufort County line. But Baldwin tried to pass some of the other riders when he lost control of his motorcycle and went off the left side of the road, investigators said.
Troopers said Baldwin then hit a railroad tie and a ditch bank before rolling over into a ditch filled with water. Speed was a factor in the crash, according to the Highway Patrol.
Baldwin died from his injuries at CarolinaEast Medical Center, investigators said. No one else was hurt in the wreck.
Friend Doug Spain used to ride with Baldwin. Spain said Baldwin was a leader and always prayed at charity rides.
"He just loved people, always had a smile," Spain said.
Before becoming a pastor at Amity Christian Church, Baldwin had retired from Stonewall Community Church. In addition Baldwin also played Santa Claus and worked at Pamlico Partnership for Children.
Friend Asa Gatlin described Baldwin as a caring man who could always fill a room with laughter. Moreover, he took his jobs of helping people very seriously.
"He didn't take this as his job. This was his way of life," Gatlin said.
Baldwin's daughter said her dad is able to help people even in his death. Baldwin is a registered organ donor.
Funeral services are scheduled to be held Thursday at Broad Creek Christian Church in Olympia. The visitation will be at 2 p.m. and the funeral will follow at 3 p.m.
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