Willard “Willie” Bauer, a respected builder and farm boy, passed away peacefully at the age of 87 at United Hospital in St. Paul with his loving family by his side on Monday morning, November 27, 2023, following a battle with COVID.
Willard Joseph, the son of Frank and Cathryn (Greten) Bauer, was born in Hastings on August 22, 1936. Following his graduation from Hastings High School with the class of 1955, he proudly served in the Army National Guard. On June 21, 1969, Willie married Charlene “Char” Peine at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Trier, and they were blessed with fifty-four years of marriage.
Willie cherished his nearly seventy-year partnership in farming with his brother Loren, and is proud of his nephew Paul for carrying forward the Bauer Family Farming legacy. In addition to farming, Willie learned the construction trade from his uncle, Jacob Bauer, and went on to form W. J. Bauer Construction. As a general contractor, Willie built custom homes and lifelong friendships from their owners for over sixty years. One of his greatest prides was the community he created when developing a portion of the family farm into single family homes, and was deeply proud of being designated the honorary mayor of “Willie World”. Willie will forever be remembered for his honesty, attention to detail, wisdom, big heart, and genuine desire to do his best for others.
Willie enjoyed boating with friends, time spent on Lake Mille Lacs, and aviation. He obtained a private pilots license and enjoyed flying small aircraft - although the family was never allowed to tell his mother about that particular hobby, as she certainly would not have been pleased with him!
He was preceded in death by his parents; recently by his brother Loren on November 1, 2023; and by many other extended family members.
Willie is survived by his wife, Char; daughter, LeAnn (Mike) Bauer-Staiger; sister, Mary Frandrup; and by many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 2, 2023, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion, with Father Michael Tix officiating. A reception will be held at the church following Mass. Private family interment at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Cemetery in Hastings will follow the reception.
Family and friends are cordially invited to a visitation from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Friday evening at Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel of Hastings, and from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning at church. In respect to the seriousness of Covid-19 variants, we kindly ask you to be respectful to the boundaries of health concerns while we gather.
In lieu of flowers, Willie’s family kindly requests memorials be made to St. John the Baptist Catholic School in his memory.
For guestbook and further information, please visit www.hastingsmfuneral.com.
Arrangements are being completed by Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel of Hastings.