Berthold Freidrich Baumann, 80 years of age of O'Connor Township, passed away peacefully with family by his side on Jan. 4th, 2017, after a brief illness. Bert was born in Wilhemshaven, Germany on June 7th, 1936, he was the eldest son of Louise and Ben Baumann. He grew up during WWII and immigrated to Canada with his parents and siblings in 1952. As a teenager Bert was motivated and driven, he learned to speak English easily and was never out of a job. His first job was at Superior Bowl setting up pins and his hardest job was working on Lake Superior cutting ice blocks. With his father he worked at the Red Rock paper mill as a technician and as an Orderly at Hogarth. One job Bert loved and bragged about was designing the women's wear display windows at Chapples Department store, he prided himself as having an eye for fashion. While attending high school and post-secondary school Bert maintained a hectic schedule working for Wardrop Construction and for the Department of Highways. In 1957 Bert went on a blind date with whom he always said was the love of his life, Ruth Winslow. After their date, Ruth returned to her nursing residence and told her friends "I think I'm going to marry that man". They did just that and started a family together. While working, and raising three little girls, Bert decided to go to school to improve his job prospects. He was able to go straight into grade 12 & 13 at Westgate High School. School was easy for him. During his life he would break out into reciting long Shakespeare soliloquies, we were amazed how he could remember these long memorized speeches years later. He carried on at Lakehead University, receiving an Honours Degree in Geography, and earned the President's Metal. He then went to teachers college over two summers at Queen's University. We have fond memories of Ruth packing up her three "angels" in her red V.W. bug, driving through the night with the back seat down so the kids could sleep to visit Bert. Later in life he earned a Master's Degree in curriculum development and was very proud of this accomplishment, stating he was the first person in his family to receive a Master's Degree. Bert taught mostly at Churchill High School, and over the years our family has heard from many former students of how much they liked and respected Bert as a teacher. He was fair minded and liberal taking a real interest in the students' lives. In the 1970's he took a large group of students to Europe, visiting many countries, he described how wonderful it was to see Beirut when it was a beautiful cosmopolitan City. Part of the trip was on a cruise ship, he told the kids who typically dressed with wide legged, torn jeans to have one nice outfit to wear on the cruise ship. One night his group was chosen to eat at the Captains table and the Northern Ontario kids got all dressed up, he couldn't believe how great they looked coming down the stairway. After that night they were asked to join the Captain several times for dinner. Bert was also instrumental in developing Jarvis Bay as an outdoor centre for students. They built cabins and stayed there learning how to survey and other outdoor activities. He took his own three girls to Jarvis Bay, to hang out with the high school kids, staying overnight in the cabins. At Churchill he coached the senior football team often bringing his girls to the games. Bert's last years of teaching were spent working for the board office developing curriculum. He was always challenging himself to accomplish new things. Over the years Bert sat on various boards. When he retired from teaching he worked for the Appeals Board for E.I. He was later appointed as Chairman of the Board for the Airport Authority. He held this position for many years and was proud of the policy's they implemented. Bert would remind his family and friends that Thunder Bay airport is the only one in Canada to not charge an improvement fee, part of his legacy. He made and retained good friends from his work at the airport. In the 1970's Bert gave up smoking and began to run, fitness was a part of his life from then on. He completed many Grandmas Marathons, local runs and was a long-time member of the College fitness center. He had a keen mind, he picked up languages easily. People would often overhear him singing or playing a harmonica. Bert had a lot of joy for life. He read daily and could talk about many topics, he would use his humour and wit to debate issues. Bert enjoyed politics and ran for office as MP back in 1970 to whom he came in second to Paul McCrae. His wife being grateful he didn't win as she was a country girl and didn't want to move from her hometown. In 1973, Ruth got her wish and they built a home on her parents homestead in O'Connor Township. The entire family was involved in the build with many weekends spent falling trees and clearing brush to develop a long driveway into the bush where a large area was cleared for their home. Bert loved country living, he built a pool for the kids. He had many family and friends that would gather to enjoy their home and hospitality. He could be heard doing his Tarzan call, banging his big chest, from his deck down through the valley. Bert and Ruth traveled every year. They went to Germany many times, visiting relatives. In 1970 he packed up the family, flew to Europe, rented a car, purchased a tent and sleeping bags, travelling from one country to the next. It was a trip of a lifetime for our family. He also took his family to the East Coast of Canada, driving in his green 1967 Mustang, pulling a tent trailer with the three girls fighting over who had to sit on the middle hump. In the summer of 1978 Bert ventured to Africa joining good friends Bill and Angela Lobb helping them while they constructed wells in Ghana. He and Ruth also visited Australia to stay with Terry Trusdale and his family. Terry was working as a flying emergency Doctor, they had great memories of their time in Australia. Many short trips to Florida, Cuba and Mexico were taken on March breaks. For the past 20+ years Bert loved being a snow bird and lived the winter months in Palm Springs with Ruth. He loved the sunny days, swimming daily in the mineral hot spring pools, having dinners and special events with their many friends. Bert took up golf later in life, becoming a regular golfer, he loved the routine, exercise and camaraderie of the sport with his friends in Palm Springs and in Thunder Bay during the summers. He welcomed his family to come and stay in Palm Springs saying, "come and stay as long as you want". He called their home "camp" and said it would always be there for his children and their families to enjoy when he was no longer with us. We are all grateful to have had time in the desert with him and will cherish our time there in the future. Bert's pride and joy was watching his family grow. Having 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren that loved him wholeheartedly. He had a special relationship with each one. He always had fun with his grandchildren and great grandchildren, horsey rides, tractor rides, sleepovers, hot tubs, saunas, fun filled days by the pool, fires in the backyard and the overabundance of treats. Tall tales of Fifi LaRoux, the gas guzzling poodle that every child believed. He was a storyteller and a jokester making everything fun. He showered each of them with love making them feel special in their own right. He supported every grandchild on their lives' path with words of wisdom and encouraging conversations. He was proud of all his grandchildren. He loved being surrounded by his family, his eyes would light up with pride to see the family he and his loving wife had created. One of his favourite things was to attend his great grandson's football games. Which meant the world to Lucca. Lucca was heartbroken to find out the passing of his Papa Bert and him no longer being able to attend his footballs games. Predeceased by his mother Louise in 1990, father Berthold "Ben" in 2003, sister, Adelheid (Adele) McKellock, brother in-laws, Alfred McKelloch and Steven Yawney, nephew Robert Green and grandson Andrew Lemieux. Bert is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruth (Winslow), daughters, Janice (Owen) Lemieux, Denise (Bryan) Nunan and Andrea Baumann (Joe Grzelewski). Six grandchildren, Sheena Baumann (Mario Colistro), Ryan Lemieux, Chelsea Baumann, Heather Lemieux, Alexandra Grzelewski and Greta Grzelewski. Four great children, Lucca, Rocco, and Simone Colistro, Mia Nyberg. Sisters, Ingeborg (Inga) Yawney, Elka Moroziuk (Maurice) brothers Ted Baumann and Edmund (Ed) and wife Cynthia Baumann. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews and cousins in Germany. His cousins in Germany have expressed their deep sympathy remembering Bert as a great host when they visited Canada. As Mathias Zehe stated in a text "he is watching over us singing one of his sweet songs". Our family would like to thank Len Roy for coming to the rescue when a pipe burst the night they returned home from Palm Springs, Terry Trusdale for providing his medical expertise and for being such a good friend to Bert, visiting him each day. Thank you to Steve Derech, Bert and Ruth's neighbour who is always there to help and for bringing food to our family. Thank you to Ruth's niece Janet for texting everyday and for the beautiful flowers she sent. Our family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks for the overwhelming love, support, food, cards and hugs from friends and family. A special thanks to the staff at the Regional for their excellent care and to Dr. Davis the staff at St. Joseph's hospice unit, he only had one night there but all the nurses who cared for him for that brief time did so with compassion and respect. It was a blessing for Ruth and Andrea to sleep in his room and then to be told kindly to call in the rest of the family so we could all be with him when he passed. Bert was in the hospital for such a short time and we are grateful that a few friends and family got to visit him, he would wake up with a big smile and tell them how much he appreciated the visit, he was such a gentleman. We are also sorry for those who didn't get to visit since his passing was so quick. Following Bert's wish a scholarship will be established at Lakehead University's Northern Ontario School of Medicine in his memory.
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