Cover photo for Albert Bauer Jr's Obituary
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1928 Albert 2021

Albert Bauer Jr

June 6, 1928 — April 21, 2021

Albert Bauer Jr
June 6, 1928 - April 21, 2021

Albert Bauer Jr. passed away April 21 , 2021 . Al was born June 6, 1 928, on his dad's homestead in Lewiston, MT. He was the fourth of five children of Albert Sr. and Florence Bauer. In 1936 Albert Sr. sold the ranch and moved the family to a dairy farm in La Center, WA, so that his children could live where they would have a greater opportunity to pursue education than he had growing up. In 1942 he purchased a farm in Salmon Creek, where Legacy Hospital is now located.
Al attended Vancouver High School until his junior year, when he dropped out to work at the Washington Co-op Cannery. While working at the cannery he completed correspondence courses to earn a high school diploma and enrolled at Clark College in January 1948. In June he joined the Navy, along with close friends Lowell Neil and Kenny Clark. He served for six years, which included two tours of duty in Korea. He served first aboard the USS LSM 236 and then the USS Nobel APA 218. Al was honorably discharged in June 1954 with the rate Boat­swain Mate First Class Petty Officer.
During the months that Al's ships were not at sea they home-ported in San Diego. On weekends, he enjoyed riding bareback broncos at rodeos in southwestern California and Arizona. His biggest claim to fame was when he competed in the Los Angeles Coliseum against 35 bareback riders, including world champion, Casey Tibbs.
On New Year's Eve 1953, Al married the love of his life, Patricia McQueen in San Diego. After his Navy service, Al and Pat returned to Salmon Creek and raised their three children: Sue, Jim and Nancy. Al resumed his studies at Clark College where he was a member of the track team and was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame for his success in the one-mile and two-mile runs. Al transferred to Portland State University and finished his education at Oregon State University, earning a master's degree in Political Science and Education.
Al began his teaching career at La Center Elementary School, then taught at Shumway Junior High and subse­quently, Columbia River High School. Later, he taught classes for the Mature Learning Program at Clark College. In 1970 Al was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives where he served ten years, and in 1980 he was elected to the State Senate where he served twenty years.
Over his 30 years in the house and senate, Al prime sponsored and shepherded through the legislature I 18 pieces of legislation. He was particularly proud of the bill to create the Running Start Program for high school and community college students, and sharing with former Governor Booth Gardener, then a senator, a bill that created the Meals on Wheels program. When he retired from the senate, former Governor Gary Locke called him, "the education senator from Washington".
Al received recognition and numerous awards for his many years of teaching and public service. A building on the Clark College campus was named Bauer Hall in his honor. In 1996 Al was presented with the national Walter Turner Award for his involvement in education legislation . When Al retired in 2001, The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington honored him with the community's First Citizen Award and gave him a new Ford F-150 pickup. In 2001 and 2002 he served as an assistant to the president of Clark College and gave the Class of 2001 commencement address; in 2017 Al received Clark College's Real Hero Honoree award for exemplary service to education.
To show appreciation for the positive influence Clark College had on his life, Al established the Patricia and Senator Al Bauer Scholarship, enabling one or two Clark College students a year to attend WSU tuition free in perpetuity.
In 2007 Al wrote the book From Fairview to Salmon Creek, depicting how communities work together to accomplish common goals. He recalled examples from his boyhood community, Fairview, Montana, days in La Center and his many years in Salmon Creek. Al wrote about the homesteaders in Fairview who helped their neighbors thrash grain, brand cattle and deliver babies; he explained how a group of concerned citizens in Vancouver succeeded in bringing a Washington State University branch campus to Salmon Creek. Al believed strongly that, "Strong communities make for a strong nation," and endeavored much of his life working with others to improve his community.
While writing his book, Al reunited with a childhood acquaintance, Margaret Culbertson. They were married in 2010, but she passed away in 2013. In his later years, Al moved into Bonaventure Senior Living in Salmon Creek. Among all the fine people there, he met and enjoyed the companionship of Annabelle Files, who he regarded as his special lady friend.
Al was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Sr. and Florence Bauer; his three brothers, Alvin Bauer, Eugene Bauer and Raymond Bauer; his sister, Evelyn Booton; his wife of 49 years, Patricia Bauer; and his daughter, Sue Mason. He is survived by his son, Jim Bauer; and daughter, Nancy Bauer. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Ronda Chin, Terry McQueen, Melissa Williams, Kyle Spies, James Bauer, Samantha Stoffelsen and Allyn Bauer; his great-grandchildren : Benjamin, Alexander, Emily, David, Elaine Mae, Kathryn, Theodore and Damien; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Contributions in Al's memory can be made to the Patricia and Senator Bauer Scholarship at Clark College, The Boys and Girls Club and Salmon Creek United Methodist Church.
Due to COVID restrictions a memorial will be held for Al at a later date.

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