Charles “Chuck” August Bauer, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in July, 1922, the middle child of Charles Sr. and Florence Collette. He passed away in July 2017, after living in Kent for 53 years.
Enlisting in the Marines after high school, Chuck was assigned to the Marine guard contingent at Bremerton Naval Yard, and then to the island of British Samoa. A “grand mal” epileptic seizure caused him to be medically discharged in 1943. He returned to New Orleans and learned the exacting skills needed to be an optician, a job in which he ground and shaped lenses for eyeglasses according to precise specifications as prescribed by optometrists.
“The last Saturday of June, 1946” was how Chuck referred to the day that was the big turning point of his life. George, a Marine buddy, visited Chuck and said, “You know Charlie, what you need is Jesus Christ.” George pulled a small Bible from his back pocket, where he used to carry a bottle of liquor, and started to tell Chuck about how the Lord had changed his life. Chuck wanted to hear more; up until then he had only thought of Jesus Christ as a figure hanging on the wall of a church. George showed Chuck some passages in the Bible, and Chuck felt God strongly speaking to his heart; he got on his knees beside his bed. As Chuck told it, in his mind’s eye that figure of Jesus on the cross suddenly came alive to him and he prayed simply, “God, I believe You died to save a man like me. I don’t know what you want me to do, but whatever it is, I’ll do it.”
Chuck said of that moment that he immediately felt like “something came into me and something went out of me.” That day, Chuck said, was the beginning of his life-long walk with the Lord. He began reading the Bible to see how God wanted him to lead his life, and in him developed a hunger to read and study God’s Word that stayed with him for the rest of his life. In 1948 Chuck enrolled in Simpson Bible Institute in Seattle, where he met Violet; they were married in 1954. Chuck liked to talk about how much he appreciated Vi and what a big help and companion she was to him throughout their lives together.
Chuck worked for American Optical Co. for over 25 years and then enjoyed a long retirement starting in 1982. He will be remembered by those who knew him as a man with so very many of the highest qualities of character and temperament. His life was an open book and a living example of integrity and honor. Yet he was self-effacing and a man of genuine humility and humbleness; he didn’t brag about himself, he didn’t think he was anything special, and he said he owed all the thanks to God for whatever good happened to him in his life. He was scrupulously honest, open and fair, a man without guile or deceit. Because of his close walk with God he had a child-like innocence about him. He was straightforward, direct and unpretentious in his dealings with all people.
Chuck was a hard-working, responsible and faithful husband, father, grandfather and friend. He had a sweetness and gentle kindness of spirit that people noticed, even those meeting him for the first time. He greeted visitors with a warm smile and a genuine welcome. He was happy for the successes and good fortune of others, and he empathized with the troubles of others and gave freely of himself to help and/or encourage those who needed it.
Chuck is survived by his wife Violet, sons Chris, Ben, Joel and Bob, six grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.Donations in Chuck’s honor may be made to your local VFW chapter (Veterans of Foreign Wars).
Charles August Bauer was a special man, all the more so because he honestly didn’t know how special he was. Those of us close to Chuck miss him a lot and feel a large hole left by his passing. But we take comfort in remembering him and the exemplary life he led, and in knowing that God is faithful to receive and reward those who are faithful to Him, as Chuck certainly was.