July 23. Our day took a different and sad turn this morning when my father-in-law, Don Bauman, passed away. His thoughtful, steady, loyal, quiet personality will be lovingly remembered. We’ve spent the afternoon sharing our memories of this deeply loved man.
Keith’s eulogy he gave at his father’s graveside service entitled “My Fathers Hands”
One of my earliest memories is being closely held by my father as we were preparing to board the ship USS Gaffey that was to transport us from the Philippians to the United States. As a small child I marveled at the sights I was seeing and felt safe in my father’s hands. I knew no harm could befall me as long as my father was holding me.
As I think about it, my father’s hands were frequently a fixture or prop in my memories of him. I remember my father’s hands:
- Slicing an orange with a new electric knife creating slices so thin the sun would shine through them as if they were miniature stained glass windows.
- Honing his knives on a steel with speed and skill that he learned at his father’s side.
- Washing my hair as I lay on the kitchen counter with my head in the sink, his hands strong and gentle as he cleansed me.
- Holding mine as I woke from surgery. With my eyes closed I knew those were my father’s hands as they were large and callused from working in his garden.
- Teaching me the proper way to grip a baseball bat and to throw a ball.
- Reaching up to me, encouraging me to jump from the roof of our house into his arms, and though the distance seemed as great as a canyon, I jumped with faith.
- Driving nails into a backyard fort for his sons in Las Vegas.
- Whipping eggs and sugar together rapidly to make ice cream and later his hands turning the crank without pause.
- Loading his pipe and cupping the flame around the bowl.
- Building a push car for his sons though, at the time, his marriage to our mother was failing he still made time for us.
- Providing humor when he put a wind up key on our small family car and pulled over on the side of a busy road to wind it up as a joke.
- Cradling my children.
It was when I observed my father’s hands as he cradled my children that I realized the absolute love I have for my children is merely a reflection of my father’s love for his children.
There were many family and friends present and it was an unusually cool July morning. After the service a large group of the Bauman’s spent time together as we ate lunch.
After lunch each of Don’s sons and families along with Don’s siblings’ families stood together for family photos. Don was the last of his parents children to be called home.
July 26 we laid a wonderful man to rest. I am incredibly thankful for the memories I have with my Papaw and he will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to everyone who offered kind words and kept my family in their thoughts and prayers. — granddaughter, Kelsey