American Veteran 02

William 'Bill' Bauman

January 19, 1925 ~ June 15, 2022 (age 97)


By all accounts, 19-year-old William "Bill" Bauman should have passed away in November 1944 after being shot by German soldiers during "Operation Market Garden" and the liberation of Nijmegan, Netherlands. Instead, he survived being critically wounded in combat and lived a long and fulfilling life, passing away peacefully on Wednesday, June 16, 2022, in his hometown of Olney, at the age of 97.  

Bill was born on January 19, 1925, in Olney, the son of Albert and Francis Bauman. Bill aspired to continue the family tradition of farming in Richland County. That dream was interrupted by WWII, when he sold his recently purchased John Deere tractor and enlisted in the U.S. Army's 508th parachute infantry regiment, known as the "Red Devils". The decision was partially influenced by the elite reputation of being a paratrooper, as well as the opportunity to earn $50 more a month.

After being wounded in action, Bill was transported to an Army field hospital in England, where he spent nearly a year recovering from his wounds. He then returned stateside for further physical therapy and to finish his terms of enlistment. After leaving the Army, he returned to Olney and married his wife, Berta (Travers) Bauman in 1945. Together, they raised 4 children.

Bill was an ambitious entrepreneur in the area, starting several businesses including auto repair & salvage, construction, welding, redi-mix concrete and oilfield work. In 1981, he retired as an active partner in his oilfield services business at age 56, and spent the next 40 years enjoying camping, motorhomes, traveling, building equipment, and restoring vintage John Deere tractors to compete in pulling competitions. Bill purchased property on East Fork Lake, where he and his wife lived for more than 30 years.  

Bill was extremely proud of his service to our nation. He was the last known WWII survivor of the 508th and was active in reunions until they stopped. He was a lifetime member of the Olney VFW, and a past member of the Olney Masonic lodge.  

He is survived by his son, Mike Bauman (Barbara) of Olney; 2 daughters Susie Mayberry (Rick) of Olney and Patti Harmon (Rick) of Olney; grandsons Ben Bauman (Francis) of Olney and Brandon Cunningham (Haley) of Olney, Brandon Mayberry (Yaron) of New York; granddaughters Nikki Stauffer (Mike) of Franklin, TN, Tarrah Dellinger (Galen) of St. Marie, Morgan McGee of Salem Christina Sechrest of Olney and Amanda Heany (Joe) of Kansas City, MO. He also had 11 great-grandchildren, Hannah Bauman of West Salem, Carter Bauman of Olney, Madison and Jayden McGee of Olney, Ansley and Britton Stauffer of Franklin, TN, Emsley and Barek Cunningham of Olney, Ella Dellinger of St. Marie and Gracie and Joey Heany of Kansas City, MO.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife Bertie (Berta Travers), his infant son William, his son Tom Bauman and granddaughter Jamie Mayberry. 

Graveside services will be held at 10 AM on Monday, June 20 at Haven Hill Cemetery in Olney. Pastor Gary Wachtel and the Richland County Veterans Organization will be officiating.

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Graveside Service
June 20, 2022

10:00 AM
Haven Hill Cemetery
Ludlow St
Olney, IL 62450

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