Dr. Herbert Bauer

Obituary: Dr. Herbert Bauer, public health pioneer in Davis

Published: Friday, May. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 2:31 pm

Dr. Herbert Bauer, a longtime Davis resident and pioneering public health leader in Yolo County, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 103.

A World War II refugee who helped others fleeing Nazi persecution, Dr. Bauer spent more than six decades serving people in Yolo County. Named public health officer in 1952, he traveled to rural towns to examine schoolchildren and set up clinics to administer polio and tuberculosis vaccinations. He brought the first family planning clinic to Yolo County and initiated the Family Services Agency.

He was a charter member of the Yolo County Medical Society and the Yolo County Mental Health Association. He helped organize suicide prevention and crisis services. He became Yolo County's first full-time public health officer in 1955 and expanded the office from a room in the county courthouse basement to branches in Broderick and Davis.

After retiring as health officer in 1973, Dr. Bauer completed a psychiatric residency at UC Davis Medical Center and spent 20 years as a child psychiatrist. He was on the clinical faculty of the UC Davis School of Medicine and taught at the UC Davis School of Law.

He was active in peace and social justice issues and belonged to many community groups in Davis. He wrote letters to newspapers on civic and political issues and was dubbed "the conscience of the community" by a Davis columnist.

"He wasn't moralistic," said his son Chris. "He just had very strong beliefs that he was able to deliver simultaneously with force and gentleness."

Born in 1910 in Vienna, Herbert Bauer grew up in poverty and mostly educated himself in high school subjects – including classical Greek. He earned a medical degree in Vienna in 1936 and specialized in internal medicine.

As a politically active Jew, he fled to London in 1938 after Germany annexed Austria and met his future wife, Hanna, a social worker. They worked to find jobs in England for refugees and helped others escape the Nazis before the couple emigrated to the United States in 1939.

He earned a master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley and moved to Davis in 1949. He worked for the Sacramento County Health Department before he began working for Yolo County.

Dr. Bauer belonged to medical groups and received many professional and civic awards. In 2006, he was honored with the dedication of the Herbert Bauer M.D. Health, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Building in Woodland.

He had two sons with his wife, who was a psychologist for the Davis school district for many years. After 62 years of marriage, Hanna Bauer died in 2002.

Active and fit all his life, Dr. Bauer performed in his 80s with a multi-generational troupe at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre in Davis. He swam regularly and was in good health but had a leg tumor and suffered a fall a few weeks ago, his son said.

As Dr. Bauer's health declined in recent days, many friends and others who knew him showed up at his Davis home to read poetry, sing and play music for him.

"It probably speaks to everything he put out in the world," his son said. "He probably created a lot of love in the world."

Dr. Herbert Bauer

Born: Jan. 21, 1910

Died: May 7, 2013

Survived by: Sons, Tim of Seattle, and Chris of Nashville, Tenn.; and two grandchildren

Services: Pending

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.

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