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She pioneered Journal Sentinel beat on elderly, disabled

Fran Bauer, a longtime reporter for The Milwaukee Journal and Journal Sentinel who pioneered coverage of elderly issues, has passed away.

Bauer is remembered in this fine obituary by the Journal Sentinel’s Dave Umhoefer as “a voice for the underdog” and a woman with passion for reporting and compassion for the people whose paths she crossed.

She died July 19 of complications after heart bypass surgery.

Since retiring from the Journal Sentinel in 2000, Bauer has created art, traveled widely and worked as a volunteer in numerous community organizations. Among those organizations, she was on the editorial advisory board of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, a post that took advantage of her long experience covering Milwaukee neighborhoods. Sharon McGowan, the news service’s editor, said Bauer had been a mentor to her from the time it launched five years ago. “She was wise,” said McGowan. “She was very helpful.”

Umhoefer, a longtime friend of Bauer’s, wrote in her obituary that she’d mentored him and other cub reporters. She was a friend and teacher to me, too.

Bauer lived for many years in Whitefish Bay before moving to a condo in Shorewood in 2014. While in Shorewood, Umhoefer reports, she helped establish a “memory cafe” where people with dementia and their caregivers can go to socialize and tell stories. The group meets in a pub on Oakland Avenue. Elizabeth Price, coordinator of the Shorewood Senior Resource Center, said she’d recruited Bauer to serve on the village’s Elder Services Advisory Board when she moved into town, and made her a part of a dementia awareness work group, again taking advantage of expertise gained from reporting.

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Bauer was inducted in 2007 into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Media Hall of Fame.

 

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