Michael Frederick Bauer died of cancer on February 7, days before his 72nd birthday. Born in Detroit, Mike graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics, and a master’s degree in computer, information and control engineering from the University of Michigan.
Rather than complete his PhD on the impact of computers in the workplace, he pursued his passion for aviation and became a commercial pilot at Air Wisconsin Airlines, moving to the Fox Cities in 1979. That year, he met Yvonne Kokke of Appleton, whom he married in 1981. Yvonne and Mike had two children, Erica and Elizabeth, and started a digital mapping company, ADCi, in the front bedroom of their home in 1987. The company continues to prosper today.
At Air Wisconsin, Mike became the manager of pilot training, pioneering distance learning methods that have enabled more than 600 pilots to learn and work more productively. He served on two FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committees, including one on changing the mandatory retirement age of commercial pilots in the United States from 60 to 65, and was a member of the Fox Valley Technical College Aviation Advisory Committee. Later, he wrote and published Flying with the Avidyne IFD, a manual guiding general aviators to use a touchscreen flight management system.
After Yvonne died of cancer in 2010, Mike relied upon his friends in aviation – including those from the Ann Arbor Michigan Flyers – to help him through. Among those friends was Patricia Schroeder, then a manager of human factors and safety training at American Airlines. Her husband Jerry had died of cancer four months earlier. Pat became Mike’s wife in 2011. At their wedding in Ann Arbor, they displayed the entry from Mike’s logbook showing that Pat had given Mike flight instruction in the 1970’s. Pat and Mike enjoyed 10 years together, sharing their love of flying and splitting their time between friends in Dallas and Appleton, and with their five children in Phoenix, Arizona; Houston, Texas; Farmington Hills, Michigan; St. Clair, Michigan; and Seattle, Washington.
Mike is survived by his wife, Pat, daughters Erica (Josh) Bauer Nevas and Elizabeth (Josh) Royalty, stepchildren Christy, Katy and Jerry Schroeder, grandchildren Alexander, Elise, William and Malcolm, sisters Patricia Bauer (Edward Muller) and Kathleen (Joe) Franklin, as well as 13 nieces and nephews, and their 27 children. He is preceded in death by his parents, Frederick and Geraldine Bauer, his wife Yvonne, and his nephew James.
Mike embodied integrity in every sense of the word. To him, details mattered, whether using hand tools to get a precise finish on the furniture he made, pre-flighting an aircraft for an Angel Flight or Civil Air Patrol, volunteering to prepare individuals’ taxes through AARP, or maintaining and repairing the bicycles he rode on every crisp, blue Wisconsin day. He was a consistent, stable support to all he loved, and his wry sense of humor was adroitly timed and perfectly understated.
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
A service will be planned for the late spring. Please consider donations to the Fox Valley Community Foundation, in support of the community that welcomed Mike and gave him a loving home. The family would like to thank the caregivers and medical professionals at ThedaCare; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Froedert in Milwaukee for their compassion and professionalism.