Irvin O. Bauer Sr., 97, partner in North Baltimore florist firm

January 16, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Irvin O. Bauer Sr., a partner in the company of Fred C. Bauer Florist for 65 years, died of complications from a stroke Saturday at Stella Maris. He was 97.

Mr. Bauer, who retired in 1970 as an active partner in the business, grew up on the grounds of the Gittings Avenue company, which his father had established in 1897.

The firm is located on its original 8-acre site in the Pinehurst-Cedarcroft section of North Baltimore. The site includes seven greenhouses.

Mr. Bauer was descended from five generations of German florists. His grandparents, who had immigrated to Baltimore from Traben-Trabach on the Moselle River, opened a shop in 1870 at Gay Street and North Avenue.

Mr. Bauer was a mostly self-educated man who briefly attended Strayer's Business College.

"He began working in the greenhouses when he was 7 or 8 years old," said his son, Irvin O. Bauer Jr. of Towson. "He started his career when deliveries were made by horse-drawn carriage, and he'd often make frequent trips to downtown Baltimore wholesalers to pick up fresh flowers on his bicycle."

The firm's slogan is "Nothing could be finer than lovely, fresh flowers from Bauer."

Especially known for its funeral pieces, it produced floral decorations for Worthington Valley society weddings and bouquets for generations of Bachelors Cotillon and Assembly debutantes.

Called "Mr. Irv" by his customers, Mr. Bauer was known for his floral designs, which he produced while smoking a cigar, sitting at his greenhouse bench.

On a 120-acre farm, Chatterleigh, north of Towson, Mr. Bauer raised cattle and grew trees, shrubs and other nursery stock, much of which went to landscape Guilford and Homeland when those areas were developed after World War I.

Mr. Bauer drove his own automobile until he was 92; and until he had his first stroke a year ago, was still working with seedlings and cuttings and raising pineapple, avocado and exotic plants.

Mr. Bauer was married for 62 years to the former A. Minerva Koch, who died in 1980.

His professional memberships included the Society of American Florists. He was past president and treasurer of the Florist Club of Baltimore.

He had served as president of Acme Savings & Building and Loan Association and had been a charter member of the Men's Board of the Silver Cross Home for the Aged. He was a member for 70 years of Tuscan Lodge No. 202 A.F.&A.M., and had been a member for 76 years of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Home, 6500 York Road, Rodgers Forge.

Other survivors include a daughter, Alma Bauer Hudson of Baltimore; a sister, Thelma Bauer of Baltimore; six grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

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