Ruth Reilly Bauer


Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Longtime Juneau resident Ruth Reilly Bauer died May 18, 2007, at the Juneau Pioneers' Home of pneumonia due to emphysema from years of smoking. She was 84.

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She was born Sept. 28, 1922, in Shorewood, Wis., to Claude Reilly and Alphonsa Wenting Reilly.

After graduating high school at the start of World War II, she left home, graduated from flight training and joined the Women's Air Service Pilots. She spent the war stationed at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, ferrying airplanes from point to point, as well as acting as a test pilot.

After the war, the WASPs were disbanded, and their war service was classified for 35 years. The WASPs recently had their veteran status reinstated.

Family members said she loved to fly, and those days spent flying were the happiest of her life.

After the war, she attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 1968, she relocated to work as a highway planner for the state of Alaska Department of Highways. In 1984, she retired from the Planning Division of the Highway Department to pursue her loves of gardening, reading and listening to classical music, which she did in the company of her cats for a number of years.

Her passing is mourned, and she will be much missed by all who knew and loved her, said family members.

Throughout her life, she gave generously to various causes she deemed worthy: a variety of political elections, through organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, Habitat for Humanity and a wide range of ecological organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy and North Shore Animal League.

She was preceded in death by her infant son, Gregory Lawrence Bauer.

She is survived by her daughter, Kristine R. Bauer, of Lemon Grove, Calif.; granddaughter, Valentina Bauer, of North Hill, Calif.; informally adopted daughter, Janet Lown Lassiter, of Gustavus; sister, Patricia Reilly, of Greenfield, Wis.; and brother, David Reilly, of Runaway Bay, Texas.

Per her request, no services are planned. She was cremated at the Alaskan Memorial Park Mortuary. A private remembrance will be held at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.

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