Alec Baldwin has taken to Instagram to mark the 36th anniversary of the death of his father and namesake, Massapequa High School social-studies teacher and football and rifle-team coach Alexander Rae Baldwin Jr.
Posting two Instagram images of his dad, one in a classroom, one in his Marine Corps uniform, Baldwin, 61, called his father "a uniquely caring, dedicated, stern, smart and, at times, funny man who served as a public school teacher and coach for 28 years until his death at age 55."
The "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" Emmy Award-winner mused that, "Beyond missing those who are no longer with us, beyond wondering where they have gone and how life might have been if they had lived longer, the loss of a parent sets in motion the 'orphan clock.' The time when, after both parents are gone, one is an orphan in the world. With no one alive to parent you, which is a wondrous and vital calling."
Baldwin, who was born in Amityville and raised in Massapequa’s Nassau Shores neighborhood, is himself the father of four children with wife Hilaria Baldwin — daughter Carmen, 5, and sons Rafael, 3, Leonardo, 2, and Romeo, who will be 1 next month — and a 23-year-old daughter, model Ireland Baldwin, with his ex-wife, Oscar-winner Kim Basinger.
He went on to say that his and his five siblings' mother, Carol Baldwin, "is still alive, but the death of my father effected me tremendously and set me on a course of seeking other men to advise me. To care for me. Mentor me. No one has quite filled that position. A mother, a father, under the best of circumstances, though never perfect ones, are irreplaceable. I miss you, Dad."
A year ago he posted a sepia-tinted photograph of his father as a young man, captioning it "Alexander R Baldwin Jr. Born October 26, 1927. Died April 15, 1983 The Baldwin family remembers our dad on this 35th anniversary."
His father had died of lymphatic cancer, Baldwin said in a 2009 essay, writing that "he served in the United States Marine Corps and was an expert marksman in riflery. He was honorably discharged for medical reasons after being shot, accidentally, during rifle instruction on Parris Island. … Years later, doctors informed me that the inhalation of lead dust from working in an unventilated rifle range may have contributed significantly to his death."