James (Jim) A. Bauer, age 75, of Manitowish Waters, passed away at home on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 after a courageous battle against ALS.

Jim was born on Nov. 22, 1943 in the town of LaValle to Francis and Margaret (nee Barreau) Bauer. He attended Bethel Grade School and graduated from Wonewoc-Center High School in 1961. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for one semester before transferring to Wisconsin State University at Stevens Point where he graduated in 1968 with a degree in secondary education. During his college years, Jim served as the Wonewoc summer recreation director and coached t-ball, little league, and pony league teams in addition to teaching tennis, softball, and swimming. In the fall of 1968 Jim began his teaching (science and social studies) and coaching (football, basketball, baseball) career at Wonewoc, and continued as summer recreation director.

It was early in 1968 when Jim met the love of his life, Susie (nee La Fave). They married on Aug. 2, 1969 and celebrated 50 years of marriage just before Jim’s passing. After welcoming their first two children, Jack and Andi, while in Wonewoc, Jim and Susie relocated to Susie’s hometown of Manitowish Waters in 1976 due to Jim accepting a social studies teaching position at Lakeland Union High School. Over the following years, Jim and Susie welcomed their third child, Kari, and enjoyed countless ball games, road trips to sporting events, and outdoor activities as a family. Jim remained at Lakeland until his retirement in 2004 and coached football, basketball, baseball and softball throughout his 28 years as a Lakeland Thunderbird.

Jim enjoyed much success during his teaching and coaching career including conference championships throughout the years, a state football championship in 1983, being awarded the Herb Kohl Fellowship Teacher of the Year award in 1990, being inducted into the Lakeland Union High School Wall of Fame in 2007, and being inducted into the Wonewoc-Center Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. However, being the humble and compassionate man that he was, his greatest accomplishment was always seeing his students/athletes grow and succeed in life. He served as a mentor to countless kids and adults, often being called upon to offer life advice and guidance as the years went by. Jim held the bar high for his students, challenging them to be their best selves in and out of the classroom. He was always encouraged by the numerous former students who were inspired to teach and coach in their own lives.

When not teaching or coaching, Jim spent time on Island Lake and the Manitowish Chain of Lakes with family and friends. He spent much of his free time caretaking for numerous homes on the Chain. He was honored to be entrusted with the homes of many families who vacationed in the Northwoods. Very quickly these homeowners and their families became incredibly close friends of Jim’s and the Bauer family, sharing in many milestones throughout Jim’s life.

Jim took the most pride in his family, enjoying spending time with his children, grandchildren and extended family (which included many dear friends) as much as possible. If that time could be spent on a court or field, or watching the latest Brewer, Packer, or Badger game, all the better. He led by example his entire life and served as an inspiration to his family and friends, especially in how he faced his battle against hereditary ALS throughout the last 7-plus years with humor, faith, and courage. His selfless acts in life and death will no doubt contribute to a future that will someday be free of ALS for his family and many others.

Jim is survived by his wife, Susie; children Jack Bauer (special friend Erin Carter and her son Ethan) of Manitowish Waters, Andi Bauer (special friend Victor Green) of Neenah, and Kari Moon (Chris) of Manitowish Waters; and grandchildren Bradyn Bauer, Brooklyn Bauer, Tucker Moon, Saima Moon, and Bode Moon. He is further survived by his sister Jean Youngdale (Ken); sisters-in-law Marylee Bauer, Ollie Johnson (Forrie) and Jean Aubrey (Bob); former daughter-in-law Angie Bauer, and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and additional relatives.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Francis and Margaret Bauer; brother Francis “Sonny” Bauer; mother and father-in law John and Saima La Fave; and additional aunts, uncles, and other relatives.

A memorial gathering for Jim will be held on Friday, Aug. 16th from 9 to 11 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Manitowish Waters, with a Memorial Mass at 11 a.m. A luncheon at the Manitowish Waters Community Building will follow the services.

Should friends and family be interested in making a donation in honor of Jim, his family suggests considering Northwestern University (include Dr. Teepu Siddique ALS research in the memo line and mail to Dr. Teepu Siddique, Tarry 13-715, Northwestern University, 303 East Chicago Ave, Chicago IL 60611). Additional opportunities for donation include the Jim Bauer Excellence in Teaching Scholarship Fund through Lakeland Union High School, ALS Association of Wisconsin (Team Bauer Power/Walk to Defeat ALS), ALS Steps for Hope, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Thank you for sharing in Jim’s life. He had a way of making everyone around him feel uniquely special and we take so much comfort in hearing your stories of how he positively influenced your life. Please know that you all made a lasting impact in his. We expect that he is rejoicing in heaven with a strong, ALS-free body, shooting hoops, running the bases, coaching a scrimmage, and taking his beloved dog, Bailey, for a well-deserved walk. Let’s all honor him by taking time to play catch, shoot some baskets, toss a football, or simply be a kind ear for a young person in our lives.

We would like to give a special thank you to the Ascension Home Hospice team who helped take such great care of Jim in his final weeks, the various physicians and staff at Marshfield Clinic, Dr. Teepu and Nailah Siddique from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, our ALS support group friends, Jamie Nimsgern of Nimsgern Funeral Home, and all of the many coaching and teaching friends who spent hours reminiscing about life and sports with Jim during countless visits that brightened his days.

Online condolences may be shared at www.nimsgernfuneral.com. Nimsgern Funeral & Cremation Services is serving the family.