Daniel Johnsen Baer

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Daniel Johnsen Baer
Doylestown, PA - Daniel Johnsen Baer died suddenly at his apartment in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on Monday August 3rd, 2015. He was 32. We, his parents, his sisters and brothers, friends and fiance; loved our incomparable Daniel. His abundant talents, creativity and intensity will be remembered with delight by everyone he touched. We hold dear the short time God has given us Daniel, and know that our Savior Jesus Christ holds him near to His heart.
Daniel was born on April 19, 1983 in Nyack, New York, the son of Ken Baer and Debra Johnsen Baer. He was the sixth of seven children and quickly distinguished himself as a most intelligent child with great curiosity and concentration. He loved reading and drawing, bike riding and swimming, and took every activity seriously. His first award was an enormous blue ribbon at the county fair for his dinosaur drawings at age 4! His pets included a possum one summer, a long-lived little black catfish, and Copper his red hound.
At age 11, he listened to his brother Damian play Fr Elise on the piano and determined to learn it. He spent hours working out the notes by sound, until he could play the opening beautifully. The music professor promptly accepted him as a free student. Daniel quickly learned to read music and master the piano. He would practice, practice, practice. Daniel taught himself guitar as well.
Dan was an excellent student at St Mary Help of Christians school and was often an altar server. In high school he won local and state piano and voice contests. He was a baritone and sang with his brothers Damian, a tenor, and Nathan, a bass, in the St, Mary Traditional Choir. He was a cantor at masses, and progressed to Aiken Choral Society performances, including SPOLETTO in Charleston.
Daniel received a scholarship in voice and piano to Winthrop University. He won awards from the SC Poetry Association, and the SC Press Association (for his restaurant critic column in the University paper). In his senior year, the music department presented THE GONDOLIERS with full professional backdrops and costumes. Daniel was one of the main characters. He stole the show with his polished and energetic acting, singing and dancing.
Daniel faithfully volunteered at St. Phillip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill while at Winthrop. He helped practice the two adult choirs for Sunday masses. For the Christmas and Easter special services, he practiced the choirs, the bell choir, and the instrumental set, as well as singing solos.
Daniel spent two summers in Opera Workshops in Italy, sponsored by the Catholic University in Washington DC. Most students attending did not seriously prepare. Daniel practiced his assignments long and hard. The sponsors remarked at how he had memorized everything, and could use free time to explore Italy.
Daniel graduated in 2005 with a BS in Music. A month later he packed for a short trip to New York City to visit a concert pianist at Julliard. She read the Chinese newspapers and found an inexpensive apartment for rent in Queens. It was one room over a Chinese restaurant, but Dan determined to stay and find a job quickly. He bought the uniform (black shirt and slacks) for wait staff at a local restaurant and started arriving before opening and staying all day. After a week, the management hired him. In less than three years he was employed at one of Mario Batali's restaurants, Del Posto,.as well as at Les Halles. At Astor Wine and Liquor he was a sommelier in training.
Daniel continued working creatively, writing, composing and producing his music. He answered an ad for a keyboardist and became a part of Cymbals Eats Guitars, collaborating on their first album WHY THERE ARE MOUNTAINS. The band performed constantly, attracting quite a following. The band had just signed a contract, and was about to go on tour, when Daniel developed a serious blood infection. He was hospitalized for over a month, and had open-heart surgery for his aortic heart valve. The band couldn't wait for him to recover, and he was asked to quit his contract.
Daniel returned to the Aiken Augusta after the surgery. He worked on his music, collaborating with friends, and performing at various places, including The Wilcox. Always willing to go on family trips, he attended the Baer Reunion in Indiana and a family Thanksgiving in Arizona. He flew with his father to Monterey, California to see Damian graduate from Army Language School. Daniel visited Uncle Greg Baer in Dubai, and accompanied them on a trip to Nepal to see relatives of Aunt Sindu. For a short time in Dubai he had a job writing English copy for an advertising firm.
Daniel originally moved to Doylestown from the Aiken area to help a friend produce a music cd, and to work on his personal album DOG PEOPLE. His music can be heard on YouTube and Myspace music. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, most especially by his fiance;, Kyleigh Siler.
Daniels family includes parents, Donald Ken and Debra M. Johnsen Baer, sisters, Lauren Baer, Madeleine Stratton; brothers, Adrian J. (Brittany) Baer, Nathan Baer, Ethan (Letta) Baer, maternal grandmother, Viola Jean (the late Edward J.) Johnsen, paternal grandmother, Norma Gammel (the late Rudolph S.) Baer, Dayton; aunts Lynn Stout, Karyn Dagenais, Nancy Johnsen, Janet J. Sanchez, Jennifer Whitten; uncles, Greg Baer, Mark Baer. His brother, Damian Johnsen Baer, an uncle, Edward Johnsen, Jr. and niece, Haley Elizabeth Baer, preceded him in death.
A Prayer Vigil will be held at 7 PM on Tuesday August 11 at George's Funeral Home followed by visitation until 8 PM. Daniel's Requiem Mass will be Wednesday August 12 at 10 AM, St. Mary Help Of Christians Catholic Church, 201 Park Avenue SE, Aiken, SC followed by his rest next to his brother Damian in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Graniteville, SC. Our Lady of the Valley Church in Graniteville will serve a luncheon after the burial.
The Historic George Funeral Home, 211 Park Ave., SW, Aiken, SC 29801 (803.649.6234) in charge of arrangements.
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for the Baer family may be left by visiting www.georgefuneralhoems.com
Funeral Home
George Funeral Home & Cremation Center
211 Park Avenue, SW
Aiken, SC 29801
(803) 220-0728
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star on Aug. 9, 2015