Ricky Bauer was made for the water. He was a waterman, a marine, an "eeler" and a crabber. The ocean was his life.
Born Nov. 16, 1946, in New Brunswick, N.J., He joined the Marines at an early age. Deployed to the war in Vietnam, he returned home in 1968. One year later, he began "eeling" in New Jersey. Using only a 8-foot pram, he sent many eels overseas. After he saved enough money, he bought a bigger boat and began catching blue crabs.
It has been said that the crabbing industry in New Jersey was "Bauerized" during his days up north. At the time, crabbers only dropped 80 pots per boat. There was no law mandating the amount of traps, so he went out and bought 200. Other crabbers caught on, and soon he had completely changed the industry.
Frederick (Ricky) William Bauer Jr.
In the early 1980s, he moved to Goodland to catch crabs. While there, he met his first wife, Nicolette "Momma Nik" Bauer, with whom he had two children: Eric "Keeper Cole" Bauer and Blanche Nicole Bauer. Goodland is where he also met Gene Stiles, his best friend, confidant and fishing buddy.
In 1995, he moved to Pine Island where he continued to crab and began to teach his son the trade. They caught blue crabs together and also shed soft shell crabs on his Pine Island farm through his business, St. James Soft Shells.
In 2007, he married Regina Bauer and lived on the farm with her until his passing.
Mr. Bauer was a tinkerer and an inventor. He continued to create ways to streamline his business to make that extra dollar. He took time and pride in everything he did, and he made it right.
A "Salt of the Sea," he was down to earth, a hard worker and an incredible cook and an entertaining guitar player. He loved folk singer John Prine as well as Raiford Starke.
He leaves behind his wife, Regina Bauer; two children, Eric Cole Bauer and Blanche Nicole Bauer; stepdaughter, Kelley Stegmaier; granddaughters, Bailey Blanchetta Bauer (6) and Hayden Nicole Brisson (3); and his amazing brother, Billy. He will be missed by many.
His children, Eric and Blanche, invite all to join in a celebration of his life at The Little Bar Restaurant, 205 Harbor Drive, Goodland Sunday, Jan. 12, between 1-3 p.m.