Extraordinary Son, Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Favorite Uncle, Geologist, Explorer, Hunter, Teacher, Mentor, Rock Star and Fire Chief

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Herman L. Bauer, Jr. was born February 20, 1925 to Herman L. Bauer and Gertrude Shannon Bauer. At a few weeks shy of 96 years, he outlived most of The Greatest Generation, except for the love of his life and wife of 70 years, Lillian.

Herm grew up in a classic brick bungalow on Highland Drive, worked as a farm hand in the summer, graduated from South High School in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy as WW II ended. He graduated the University of Utah as a Master of Science in Geological Engineering in 1952.

Meanwhile! A legendary ski accident at Alta put him in the V.A. Hospital for several days with a dislocated shoulder and broken leg. There he met Lillian Brown, who was likewise in a cast from a skiing mishap, albeit on the bunny slope.

Herm and Lil married in November of 1950. Their family grew to include five children who were quite sure, and still are, that their father was the strongest, wisest, toughest and most heroic Dad on the planet – Julie (Laird), Mark (Tanya), Erik, Laura, and Scott (Lori). That conviction is shared by his eight grandsons and three granddaughters.

Herm’s career as a mineral geologist took him from big cities to remote mining camps. Herm and Lil lived in SLC, Utah; Wallace, Idaho; Ruth, Nevada; Chicago, Boston and Denver. Exploration journeys included far-flung adventures from Alaska to Ecuador, Norway to Australia, and Papua New Guinea in the South Seas to Guinea, Africa. He was the head geologist for Kennecott in Ruth, Nevada (where he really was the occasional volunteer fire chief) and then at the huge Bingham mine in Utah. Later, he served as president for exploration divisions, including Let's go on a wild goose chase! Bear Creek Mining Company, Amoco Minerals and Cyprus Minerals Company.

Herm and Lil chose to retire in Salt Lake City, the place they always called home. They spent many happy days at their cabin on the Provo River, where they worked like crazy, planted hundreds of trees, and visited with their large family and many friends. Together they enjoyed picnics, cross-country skiing, hiking, gardening, and playing bridge. Herm also volunteered as a docent at the University of Utah’s Natural History Museum and local elementary schools, where he loved to share his passion for geology and knowledge of the natural world.

He never met a rock, mineral, fossil, fault line or roadside cut that he didn’t find fascinating. His children have inherited several stashes of rocks to prove it.

Herm’s was a long, happy life lived to the very fullest, to the very end. He would advise you to do the same – preferably outdoors!


  • Survived By
  • Lillian Brown Bauer, Wife
  • Julie Bauer Pisto, Daughter
  • Laird Pisto, Son-in-Law
  • Kirsten Pisto Martin, Granddaughter
  • Anthony Bauer Pisto, Grandson
  • Mark Herman Bauer, Son
  • Tatyana Bunyatova Bauer, Daughter-in-Law
  • Nicholas Bauer, Grandson
  • Daniel Bauer, Grandson
  • Erik Louis Bauer, Son
  • Valerie Bauer Cramer, Granddaughter
  • Jessica Bauer Anderies, Granddaughter
  • Solomon Bauer, Grandson
  • Laura Bauer Smith, Daughter
  • William Smith, Grandson
  • Austin Smith, Grandson
  • Scott Thomas Bauer, Son
  • Lori Padzensky Bauer, Daughter-in-Law
  • Kevin Bauer, Grandson
  • Timothy Bauer, Grandson
  • Preceded in Death By
  • Gregory Smith, Son-in-Law
  • Florence Bauer Cloward, Sister
  • Dorothy Bauer Erickson, Sister

Life Story Info


Julie Bauer Pisto

Post Date

Feb 18, 2021


“In lieu of flowers...”


Personal Info


Salt Lake City, Utah, United States


Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Cause of Death








Military Affiliation

  • Navy


  • World War II

Worked For

  • USGS
  • Shenon and Full
  • Kennecott Copper Corporation
  • Bear Creek Mining Company
  • Amoco Minerals
  • Cyprus Minerals Company


  • Master's
    University of Utah
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I love you, a barrel and a heap,

a barrel and a heap,

and a ride in Bascomb Jeep!

That was our song -- and will be forever in my heart.


Julie Pisto Feb 22, 2021

It had been a few years since I had the chance to see Grandpa Herm and Grandma Lil, but the experiences I had hanging out at the Pisto's house next door when I was younger are still very vivid for me. The Pisto's served as a continuation of our family from the day I was born and that extended to Herm and Lil as well. When they came to visit it was like having another set of grandparents who really just came to see and play with us (Kirsten, Tony, Katie (my sister) and me. We spent hours doing various activities, mostly wrestling and rough housing and Herm was there the whole time with us; egging us on, showing us something new and fun or just watching with joy in his heart and a big smile on his face.

I had/have all the love and support that I could ever need and the Pisto/Bauer family are a big part of that. When I heard Herm and Lil we're coming to visit I would light up as if it were my family coming to town. While I'm saddened for the loss of such a tremendous human being, I still can't hep but smile because of everything he was to everyone he came in contact with.

Ian Ballantyne , Wallingford, CT, US Feb 22, 2021

My favorite Aunt, Lil Bauer, happens to be married to my favorite Uncle, Herm Bauer. My mother, Rosa, one of Lil's two sisters (eldest of the three) made sure my twin brother and I had some quality exposure to my Uncle Herm the Bauer clan for which I am forever grateful for many reasons. Uncle Herm was for my bother & I a shining example of what a truly good man is...he was a touchstone (when we needed one) for what a great parental father figure should be, and my Mother knew this. Not only that, but as a kid he would send me a bunch of amazing rocks, and he laughed with us when we kids found an (excellent) drawing of naked woman in one of his old yearbooks! The jeep rides, his geological lore, his patience & kindness...even when the gun I was carrying (properly with his guidance) accidentally fired into the clouds during a hunting hike. I'm gonna miss seeing him.

Steven Cowan , Portland, OR, US Feb 21, 2021

I knew Uncle Herm my entire life since I was born on his 20th birthday...76 years ago today...February 20th. I am one of the most fortunate people because I shared with him many wonderful times together besides our birthday celebrations. Just to name a few that have come flooding back recently are our trips in Bascom, his Jeep, up Bascom Hill, visits to Ruth, Nevada, great times at Wild Goose for family parties and an overnight, his visits while I was a patient at the Shriner’s Hospital, climbing the spiral staircase at his home on U Street, and most recently Bill and my fabulous chats in his living room with him and Aunt Lil. His love of life, care and loving of others will be with me forever. I love you Uncle Herm! Happy Birthday!

Shannon Feb 20, 2021

Uncle Herm, to you I owe a rich appreciation for the earth (he knew more about it than most), for family (and what an amazing one it is) and Shirley Temples (without the cherry, thank you!). The memories are endless and I am eternally grateful. Love you!

Dorothy Feb 19, 2021

Heard so about you from your greatest fan, Julie Pisto. I was thrilled to finally meet you and Lil at the Pisto mansion and had a delightful holiday dinner with the family. Wishing you good will and joy as you continue on your journey, Herm, far from Earth.

Arlene Joe Feb 19, 2021

I first met Herm & Lil in about 2001, when they generously hosted Laird, my brother-in-law, and me at their SLC home for a ski trip. I was delighted by Herm’s stories of how he met Lil as a result of his own skiing accident as a young man, his lifelong love of geology, and tales of family fishing exploits at the Wild Goose Ranch. One of the many highlights of our stay was the bountiful breakfast Lil prepared for us of Danish “ebilskivers,” (delightful puff pancakes with powdered sugar) prepared in a heavy cast iron specialty skillet. Herm & Lil got a big kick out of the fact that my Chinese American mother had her own ebilskiver pan and experimented with the Danish delicacy in my childhood. I inherited my mother’s pan and this weekend I will cook up a large batch of ebilskivers as a tribute to Herm! I do mean a “large batch” because Lil proved that once you start cooking up ebilskivers they disappear as quickly as they pop out of the skillet. Peace to you, Herm. Love to the family.

Richard Woo , University Place, WA, US Feb 19, 2021

Thank you to everyone who has left a memory and a message, we're so grateful for your friendship and love.

My grandfather, like many grandfathers of that greatest generation, seemed to be built from another time, heroic, able to overcome and withstand, to improve his world, to always do the right thing. Of course he was also just a kid from Utah, curious enough to find the world full of answers that needed questions, lucky enough to crash land on a ski hill to eventually meet the love of his life and raise a family who loved him right back with all our hearts.

He lived every day, truly. He appreciated the pines and listened to the raptors, but evenings didn’t stop until things were finished and put away. In between these deliberate moments was a person who cherished his family and lifelong friends. He taught his grandchildren to believe in ghosts, to hide behind sagebrush and scare the holy hell out of each other. He grew us tomatoes and put fresh berries on our ice cream. He urged us to think big picture while we marveled at small examples of planet Earth. He taught us to not just appreciate the beauty of nature, but to look closely— bestowing a deep and forever love of wild places and landscapes.

Although there are many ways to describe him… physical strength, hardiness, luster for life, lots of soft streaks, the way he seemed to pull towards greatness like gravity and of course tenacity… my grandfather would have reminded me that those are just characteristics of minerals. Characteristics are just ways to measure something and some things are immeasurable.

Heartbreak is a funny thing. There is a gemstone on our mantle that my grandpa gave us last time we were in Utah. When I picked it up the other day I cried as hard as a 9 on Mohs’ hardness scale although this particular rock registers as a 5.5. It’s shiny and black with silver and white flakes. It’s smooth, it has luster and for the life of me I have no clue what it is… until I remember to turn it over and I see his handwritten note labeling it… of course it’s snowflake obsidian. So maybe the lesson here is to always turn over your rocks.

He left us with the knowledge that we don’t know everything. I understand that there is energy in the making of these treasures… and I can’t help but think some of that is him.

Love you Grandpa Herm, thank you for being the best for us.

Kirsten , Brier, WA, US Feb 19, 2021

Dear Lillian and Family, Lillian, we first met at Sough High School and then lost track of each other until we met again in Newcomers about 1999. I so enjoyed our time in Book Club, those wonderful times at your cabin. You and Herm were such great hosts. I guess you and I are about the only ones left in our 90's. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Till we meet again, Luana Chapman

Luana Chapman , Holladay, UT, US Feb 19, 2021

Uncle Herm. Where to begin? Looking at the pictures, I hear his jovial laugh. Because of him, I know where to find garnets and pine nuts. When my dad couldn’t, Uncle Herm walked me down the aisle. And of course, rattlesnakes—real and “pretend.” Rest In Peace, Uncle Herm. You are so missed, by so many. Thanks for the memories and lifetime of love.

Val the Pal Feb 18, 2021

Wishing Herm peace, well earned after a joyful life that was certainly lived to the fullest. As proven by these delightful stories, and the way his zest for living lives on in the beautiful and loving family he and Lil built together. I had the pleasure of enjoying one of their family treasures, their warm and serene cabin up in the Utah woodlands. Once for an adventurous week with daughter Julie and friends. And again for the wedding of one's dreams with granddaughter Kirstin, where it was an honor to be welcomed like family by Herm as he proudly celebrated that magical milestone. You remain an inspiration, Herm. These memories from you and your generation are a treasure to forever hold in a special place, deep in our hearts. Thank you.

Donna , Lakewood, WA, US Feb 18, 2021

Wonderful memories of flying from Tacoma Washington to SLC with the Ski Babes. We stayed several days in the cabin, skied, hiked, assembled jigsaw puzzles. Shared stories of western mining history with Herman since my dad was a mining engineer of the same era. What a role model our dads were.

Barb Smith , Tacoma, WA, US Feb 18, 2021

....will always remember his direct communication skills, his kindness, and warmth… he turned me on to the world of minerals and still have rock specimens he educated me about it… a ton of love to the family

Mike & Wendy Perea Cowan , Seaside, CA, US Feb 18, 2021

My deepest condolences to the entire family... Herm was bigger than life with a wonderful twinkle in his eyes! Once you met Herm, you felt like you have known him your whole life. A wonderful host who happily share his cabin with friends, family, and friends of family! I was so lucky to visit several times, spending time with the Bauer’s in the land they loved! As I shared with Julie, my favorite memory of Herm is at his Granddaughter’s wedding at the cabin, dancing many dances with cutest little flower girl ever! Their connection was real, both charming the other, we simply got to enjoy the show! May you rest in internal peace Herm, it was an honor and privilege to know you.

Janet West , Lakewood, WA, US Feb 18, 2021


  • 2000
  • Feb 2005

    I am guessing at the year, but remember fondly, the lovely ski trip we took to the cabin, cross country skiing, and the night we stayed at Herb and Lil's house, sleeping in the basement and enjoying seeing the home Julie grew up in.

  • 2020
  • 2021

    I’ll miss you on our birthday, Uncle Herm! I was so lucky to have been born on your 20th birthday and all the fun times it possible to share!

  • Feb 18, 2021

    Sweet Memory

  • Feb 18, 2021

    Rarely does anyone make such a lovely, lasting impression from one meeting. I think I will always remember him, and not only because he gave me some lovely geologic specimens from his collection. Rest in Peace, Mr. Bauer.

  • Feb 20, 2021

    Herm will also be remembered as a good man and a good friend. I thank Herm and Lil for raising such a great son-in-law for me.