Gerd F. Bauer
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Gerd F. Bauer

Waldo - Gerd Ferdinand Bauer born Nov 29, 1939, in Ingolstadt, Germany to parents Ferdinand and Rosina Anna Bauer. He passed away April 6, 2021 due to a complication during a medical procedure. He was a boy during World War II and his memories of that time were of growing food in the garden to supplement wartime rations and helping his grandfather string apple slices in the attic so that Apfelkuchen could be made as a winter treat. After surviving World War II, Ferdinand finally found work, and on his first day he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle. Gerd's mother Rosina was unable to support three children during post war Germany. As the eldest boy, Gerd was to be sponsored by his uncle Hans A. Bauer who was the Founder of Elenco Carbide in Elkhart Lake, WI, and immigrated to the United States in 1955 at 15 years old.

He attended High School in Plymouth WI, where, knowing no English, he managed to learn English by listening. With no translation provided, he excelled in math because he could understand the numbers regardless of the language barrier. He saved money and attended engineering school in Houghton, MI, for two years until his savings ran out. Gerd moved back to Sheboygan County and became a junior draftsman and quickly landed a job at Modern Equipment Co. of Port Washington, WI. From junior draftsman he worked his way up to vice president of engineering during his 25-year career there. He traveled the world designing metal pouring systems for engine casting, for which he holds several patents. Gerd became a United States citizen in 1963. At Modern Equipment Co., he met his wife Bonnie J. Karrels Bauer who he married in 1968. They enjoyed many adventures together all-across North America and Europe. In 1972 they purchased a historic farm on the large hill just outside of Hingham, WI, where they raised two boys: Gerd F. Bauer II and Erik F. Bauer. Gerd and Bonnie also raised horses, beef cattle, and, most notably, at the height of the farm, 250 sheep and 75 Nubian dairy goats. As a family they would show their award-winning Nubian Dairy goats throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

After being the CEO of his uncle's company, Elenco Carbide and doubling the size of the company, his life-long desire for a business of his own was too strong to ignore. He had the opportunity to buy one of his father-in-law's companies - Magna-Matic Division. Purchased in 1989, the early days were a great struggle to make a single product into a full company and brand while supporting a family. The product was a rotary lawn mower blade balancer - Gerd quickly worked to engineer the product, improving quality and accuracy, earning him several more patents. To grow Magna-Matic as a company, he added a rotary lawn mower blade sharpener to the line - the MAG-9000. This was the first sharpener of its kind that easily maintained the correct cutting-edge angle and paired with the blade balancer, he had a product combo for lawn mower dealers and landscapers. During his lifetime he achieved 7 US patents. His sons worked both on the farm with Bonnie and at Magna-Matic with Gerd where they learned the lessons that would shape them. After losing his wife to ovarian cancer in 2003, the boys had to step up and run the company to give their father time to mourn. Gerd spent more time in Germany but continued to guide his sons and Magna-Matic towards growth and continued innovation.

Gerd had an immeasurable love for life and had numerous hobbies and was deeply interested in anything mechanical. He loved aviation and had always wanted to be a pilot. From weddings to landscapes to product photos, he was a prolific photographer. Gerd travelled the world, experiencing new things, especially his love for world music. He loved trains and all things transportation. Gerd played numerous roles in his life from father, grandfather, engineer, farmer, photographer, writer, and he wore every hat possible in companies large and small.

Gerd was very loyal, patient, kind, and generous. He always had a positive outlook on life--which will live on through his sons and grandson.

He is survived by his sons Gerd Ferdinand Bauer II and his partner Heather Wroblewski, and Erik Frithjof Bauer with his wife Ashley Bauer, and his grandson Erik Frithjof Bauer II, all of Waldo, WI. He found love again with his sweetheart Linda L. Gass.

He is further survived by his sister-in-law Jean Crawford of BC, Canada, his niece Natalie Schnell of Seattle, WA, his cousin Günter Hörmann of Schlierling, Germany, his cousin Elizabeth Blount of Ft. Meyers, FL, his nephew Klaus Rudert of Bad Homburg, Germany, his niece Aliesha Holbert of Isle, MN, and several cousins in Germany.

Gerd is preceded in death by his wife Bonnie Jean Bauer, his sister Erika Rudert (Bauer), and his brother Frithjof Bauer.

A visitation for Gerd will be celebrated on Thursday, April 15th from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Eernisse Funeral Home, 1600 W. Grand Ave. in Port Washington, followed by a funeral service at 6 PM.

The Eernisse Funeral Home, Port Washington is honored to serve the family. Online condolences may be left at

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Published in Sheboygan Press from Apr. 12 to Apr. 13, 2021.
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