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Published: Saturday, 9/19/2009

Montpelier native wrote inspirational books, articles

Fred Bauer, 75, a Montpelier, Ohio, native who, powered by his own positive thinking, landed a job at Norman Vincent Peale's Guideposts magazine and found a career writing inspirational articles, books, and verse, died Thursday in his State College, Pa., home.

Formerly of Princeton, N.J., Mr. Bauer was in declining health for two years, his son Steve said.

At Guideposts, he was associate, managing, and executive editor. He became roving editor so that he could work on books. A book followed a cross-country bicycle trip he and three of his children took. He co-authored titles with the likes of singer George Beverly Shea, third baseman Brooks Robinson, illustrator Norman Rockwell, and inspirational poet Helen Steiner Rice. He started his own publishing firm.

He contributed to Daily Guideposts, an annual book begun under his watch that offers daily messages. In 1991, he wrote a Reader's Digest tribute to Don Wolfe, the longtime Blade columnist and editor who died in 1990.

"He touched a lot of lives and people related to what he had to say," his son said.

He was born March 30, 1934, in Montpelier. At 15, he covered high school football and basketball for the Montpelier Leader-Enterprise. He was a radio announcer for local contests. A graduate of Montpelier High School, he went to Bowling Green State University. Army service in Hawaii interrupted his education, but while there, he managed a radio network and re-created major league baseball games for listeners.

He received a journalism degree in 1957 from BGSU. Back in Montpelier, he continued broadcasting. He wrote for the local paper plus the Bryan Times, The Blade, and the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.

He also opened pizza shops in Bryan and Defiance.

In 1962, married nine years with children and confident in his abilities, he sold the businesses and went to find work in New York City. Six weeks of door knocking later, he stopped at Guideposts. Mr. Peale and his wife, Ruth, said they'd been praying for help at their magazine.

Mr. Bauer credited growing up and going to church in northwest Ohio with his success.

"Those were the people he wrote to," his son said. "Sometimes you would have people in New York City who didn't understand, who had trouble communicating with people from the heartland. Dad had the touch. He understood."

He received the 1994 BGSU Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Surviving are his wife, Shirley, whom he married Aug. 23, 1953; daughter, Laraine Bortner; sons, Stephen, Christopher, and Daniel; brother, Robert; sister, the Rev. Joy Bauer-Bulla, and three grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday in St. Paul's United Methodist Church, State College. Memorial services will be scheduled later in Montpelier. Arrangements are by the Koch Funeral Home, State College.

The family suggests tributes to the Fred and Shirley Bauer scholarship fund for aspiring journalists through the Mileti Alumni Center at BGSU.

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