Lillian J. Bauer Bequeaths $500,000 to Community Foundation to benefit graduating Port Jervis High School students

The Lillian J. Bauer Scholarship Fund has been established through a bequest from the estate of Lillian Bauer, who was born August 7, 1916 and died in Huguenot on September 19, 2008. The Bauers were a very private, old-time, hard-working family.  Mrs. Bauer attended local schools in the Town of Deerpark. A woman of modest means, Mrs. Bauer was a homemaker and worked with her husband, Frank, on the family farm, Route 209, Huguenot (Town of Deerpark) from 1935 to 1974. Running the farm was hard work, 365 days a year, sun-up to sun-down.

The Bauers were a product of the Depression – they worked hard, spent little, knew how to save, and accumulated a significant estate of which Port Jervis High School students will now benefit. After her husband’s death in 1994, Mrs. Bauer continued to live out her days in a small house near their former family farm. She and her husband had no children, but enjoyed the company of many cousins and friends.

In an interview in 2005 at the age of 88, she remarked that she was proud of having attended the Huguenot School (now home to the Town of Deerpark Museum). She fondly recalled carrying  water from the nearby Van Inwegen home to the school, the school’s outhouse and coal burning pot-belly stove, and the recitation platform where groups were taught in the front of the classroom. This school was incorporated into the Port Jervis Central School District during the centralization process in 1955.

“This is a classic example of the millionaire next door,” reflected Karen VanHouten, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Oscar B. Greenleaf who also left a $1 million endowment fund through the Community Foundation to benefit students attending Port Jervis High School is another example of this type of philanthropist,” said Norma Schadt, Town of Deerpark historian, and former board member of the Community Foundation. “People like the Bauers focused their lives on family, community, hard work and saving for a rainy day. They never appeared wealthy and were very private,” she added.