Remembering Dad

Reunion 2006
Adirondacks 2006
Remembering Dad
Acadia 2007
Jerusalem 2008
Ben Bauman Art

David Benjamin Bauman
August 28, 1919 - May 23, 2007

In June 2006, Dad and Mom retired from 35 years of service as missionaries in India, and settled into a small home next to cousins outside Lorain, Ohio. Dad did some part-time pastoral work for a while. Their lives filled up with church commitments, civic groups, the regional astronomical club, lots of volunteer work, and time with colleagues and friends. Their home was set in the midst of orchards (peach, apple, and some other fruits) and they spent countless hours tending the trees and benefiting from the harvest; Mom put up thousands of jars of fruit jam and preserves over the years.

Over the next 20 years, Mom and Dad took 8 trips back to India, some lasting only a couple weeks and some as long as several months in duration. They had the pleasure of witnessing, over the years, the fruits of their years of service. Many of the current leaders of the Gujarat Methodist Church were at one time children in schools or boarding homes or churches in which they worked or visited or were otherwise engaged. Much of the work they began years ago - both educational and economic development - has now taken on a life of its own, and is being carried further than they could.

Throughout the 21 years they lived in Ohio, Dad remained healthy and vigorous. In the late 1990s he helped me build a brick sidewalk leading to our back deck, a rather bigger project than I had planned. It took us a couple days, but, not surprisingly, he outlasted me in the tiring work. In the summer of 2006, however, Dad unexpectedly lost his energy and began losing weight. A checkup confirmed that he had stomach cancer. While he seemed resigned to the terminal diagnosis, we the family convinced him to have surgery even if it was only palliative in effect. Dad was so looking forward to a scheduled family vacation in Acadia National Park, Maine, in late June 2007, with the whole family, both ours and Marks. It was a place we had described to him, but he had never visited; he decided for the surgery, setting a goal of being strong enough to travel by the time of the trip. Following the surgery, he recovered very slowly for a week, but on May 21 suffered a heart attack, and two days later on Wednesday, May 23, 2007, he took the final step from this life into the next. His last moments were spent surrounded by his family, who sang and prayed him on his journey. It was a moment of indescribable grief, beauty and love.

I often find myself thinking of Dad, and his presence was especially strong during my trip to Jerusalem, particularly at the Mount of the Beatitudes. A month following his death, we took the trip to Acadia anyhow, a wonderful week with the entire family together. He would have loved it.

In Memoriam

Mark and I each gave a reflection at Dad's memorial service, which you can read here:

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