Robert E. Bauer, 89, an airplane pilot and award-winning sailplane pilot who founded a central-city auto radiator business and then a mobile home park in Wood County, died Thursday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.
He had dementia, his daughter, Jennifer, said. He and his wife, Jackie, were residents most recently of Kingston Residence of Sylvania.
Mr. Bauer became a licensed pilot at age 16 in eastern Ohio, where he grew up, and he flew powered craft for decades. By the 1950s, he was a stalwart in the Toledo Glider Club along with industrialist Edward Ford Knight and Winston Smith, a longtime teacher of aviation mechanics in Toledo Public Schools.
“He really liked that quiet being-like-a-bird feeling, from thermal to thermal,” his daughter said. “It was nothing for him to fly to New York, Pennsylvania, as long as he could stay in the thermals.
“That was where he was happiest — flying.”
In 1955, he established a national flight record in a tail-less glider at an unofficial meet in Texas and received a distinction from the Soaring Society of America. He was a former state of Ohio and Midwest champion. He also was recognized by the International Gliding Commission for such attributes as distance flown to a goal and altitude gain.
Through the years, he taught young people to glide and to fly powered aircraft.
He was born on March 22, 1925, in Wadsworth, Ohio, to Florence and Edward Bauer. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and served in the Pacific Theater. He met his wife at Bowling Green State University and the couple moved to Toledo, where he found work at an auto radiator shop. He opened his own place in the late 1950s at West Bancroft and Fulton streets, Aero Auto Radiator, with a propeller on the front. His wife helped in the shop at first, then ran the business office. His children helped when they became old enough.
In 1967, he and his wife built a 200-lot mobile home park, the Ranch, on Reitz Road in Perrysburg Township. He plowed the roads, ran the sewage treatment plant, and kept order. She ran the business and tested the well water. Adjoining the Ranch was his private airport — he called it his Ranchport — where he kept his glider and his Cessna.
They sold the Ranch in 1984 and spent winters in central Florida.
Surviving are his wife, Jaquelynne Bauer, whom he married on Sept. 6, 1947; daughters, Jennifer Duffey and Charmayne Evans; son, Bruce Bauer, four grandchildren and a great-grandson.
At Mr. Bauer’s request, his body was donated to the University of Toledo’s medical program, the former Medical College of Ohio.
A gathering will take place from 1-3 p.m. today in Kingston of Sylvania. The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or Toledo Humane Society.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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