John Lee Bauman

Deceased: November 26, 2016

Service Information:

Memorial Gather: Friday, December 30, 2016 3pm until 5pm
Interment: Private


John Lee Bauman of Chicago, Illinois, passed away peacefully the result of complications from a fall on Saturday, Nov. 26th, 2016. He was 93 years of age.

John was born October 6, 1923, a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He was raised in Omaha, the third of three children. John was the son of John Lee Bauman of New Iberia, Louisiana, and Maude Irene Counsman of Omaha. John Senior and Maude Irene settled in Omaha after their marriage. Maudeís family, the Counsmans, were a pioneer family who moved to Omaha from Pennsylvania in 1861. They literally helped build the city as general contractors.

After his childhood in Nebraska, John entered military service during World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force). He was trained in meteorology at Cal Tech as part of his wartime service. He did not speak much about his service record, but his elite unit, known as ďCAVUĒ, continues to meet yearly with great pride.

John continued his education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning an MBA at the school of business. While there he met his future wife, Katherine Foster Coney of Watseka, Illinois. They married in 1951 and continued to live primarily in Evanston, where they raised a family in the 50ís, 60ís, and 70ís. The Baumans had four children. John had a few jobs in the corporate world, including Ford Motors, but soon settled on self-employment in the Chicago Loop, where he started the firm Bauman, Clark and Company. He focused on commercial real estate. One of his interests, the restoration of older hotels, now valued as restored vintage hotels, was decades ahead of its time.

Kate and John eventually moved to Kateís hometown of Watseka, Illinois, where John could not quite bear to retire. He maintained an office in downtown Watseka all along, until he suffered a major stroke in September 2001.

After his wifeís death in 2003, John eventually moved back to the Chicago area, to the Ivy assisted living units at the Imperial, as it was then called, now the Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park. In spite of grieving his wife and giving up his career, John entered a whole new phase of his life. continued....


He enjoyed the company of his new neighbors and they were delighted by his energy and wit. He was engaged in his surroundings at home and in the surrounding community. John made many friends at his assisted living home, both staff and residents. He developed interests like genealogy and farming and had opinions on sports and politics. He looked forward to yearly visits by son John and granddaughters Elena and Selena, who live in Tokyo Japan. He will be missed for his quirky sense of humor and upbeat attitude in the face of physical disability.

Johnís sisters Phyllis and Patricia, and wife Kate preceded him in death. His daughter-in-law Akemi Bauman also preceded him in death. His survivors are: daughter Catherine (husband Laurence Kornfield) of San Francisco, CA, daughter Caroline Maude (husband Steven Burkle) of Yachats, Oregon, son John Lee, twin grandchildren Selena and Elena, of Japan, and son William (wife Joni Gatz) of Chicago, Illinois.

With the support of his devoted caregivers, son William and daughter-in-law Joni, John enjoyed life until the very end. The extended family, both Kateís and Johnís, extends from the east coast, to Minnesota, the Gulf Coast, west coast, and Japan. The family is especially grateful to Bill and Joni for Johnís level of health and vitality that made his long life possible. Charitable gifts in Johnís memory can be sent to Greater Chicago Food Depository and National Council on Aging.
Memorial gathering on Friday December 30th from 3pm until 5pm. For info 773-472-6300 or