I fell in love with Dr. Herbert Bauer the first time I met him. I was calling on the recommendation of a friend of a friend to ask if he’d be willing to participate in a documentary film I was making about aging and driving. He was enthusiastic and supportive from the first moments. After speaking with him about his plans to quit driving, the tricycle he was planning to test drive instead and his feelings about his approaching 100th Birthday, I knew he would star in my film.
What I didn’t know then is that Herbert would become a dear friend, and someone I very much hoped to emulate. Herbert lived his life with true optimism and joy. He was loving and welcoming and had a way of re-framing things to help me see the beauty in life, even when circumstances were less than ideal.
Herbert led an amazing life. He escaped Nazi-occupied Austria as a young man and fled to England where he met the love of his life, Hannah. (He was her Latin tutor.) The two then moved to the US where they helped Jews fleeing Europe to find jobs and lodging. Herbert and Hannah arrived in California in the 1940s and settled in Davis (then Davisville) and helped to establish the UC Davis Medical School. Herbert served as the Director of Public Health for Yolo County for many years and has been Citizen of the Year in Davis multiple times for his countless civic contributions.
He was a pacifist and a poet and an avid reader of Greek mythology. And he loved people. All of them. Herbert forged true, deep friendships everywhere he went.
On May 7, 2013, at 4:44 AM, Herbert (age 103) died in his home in Davis, California.
He will be dearly missed.