Helene Ruth Bunce Bauer, age 92, a longtime resident of Keene, passed into eternal peace on March 28, 2021, at the Hillsboro House Nursing Home in Hillsboro after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Helene was born the daughter of Elsworth “Al” and Hazel (Young) Bunce on Nov. 20, 1928, in Peterborough. She graduated from Peterborough High School with the class of 1946. She attended Colby Junior College and went on to graduate from her father’s alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, with a BS in home economics in 1950. On Oct. 27, 1951, she married her college sweetheart, Clifford Bauer, son of Victor and Irma (Sell) Bauer of West Bend, Wisc., at the Unitarian Church in Peterborough. She and Clifford then returned to his family farm in Wisconsin, where they started their family.
However, her parents missed their daughter, so in 1955, her father lured them to New Hampshire with the prospect of Clifford operating a Ford tractor dealership, Keats, Inc. They moved to the Keene/Swanzey area where they became very active in the community, belonging to many clubs and were very involved in the Keene UCC church for many decades. Helene was secretary-treasurer of Keats, Inc., working closely in their family business with her husband, Clifford, along with her brother, John Bunce, and son, Jeff, for many years.
She loved to dance, especially square dances and polkas. She and Clifford never missed an Elk’s ball or a dance at the Moose Hall. They truly enjoyed traveling internationally, across the U.S. in their RV, and taking many cruises with family and friends. Helene also loved snowmobiling, belonging to both the Chesterfield and Keene Snowmobile Clubs. They took many trips each year to ride in Pittsburg and in Canada into their late 70s. Best of all was “Life at the Lake,” whether it be at Hunts Pond or at the Spofford Lake cottage, enjoying whole family gatherings. Social hour was at 4 p.m. with the neighbors — much fun was had. Through their involvement in the YMCA parent/child program, called the Indian Guides, the parents of the children became close friends. They created their own social club called the “Rye Pond Association,” providing many fond memories and lasting relationships. Helene’s life was devoted to providing for the good of her children and family, never asking much for herself. The rule of the house was: “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” Her smiling face and genuine personality will be missed by many.
Helene was preceded in death by her husband, Clifford, whom she was devoted to for their 66 years of marriage. She is survived by her sons: Jeffrey C. Bauer and his partner, Patricia Smith, of Spofford; Steven V. Bauer and his wife, Brenda Stowe, of Gilford; as well as two daughters: Nancy J. Shaw and her husband, Charles, of Marlborough; and Anne B. Parsons and her husband, Edward, of Windham. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Ellen Reed, of Jacksonville, Fla.; her brother, John Bunce, of Nelson; and her sister-in-law, Joyce Gerlach, of Cascade, Wisc. She will be missed by her 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and numerous friends from over many years. Helene is also pre-deceased by her brother-in-law, Horton Reed; her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ann (Luitwieler) Bunce; and her daughter-in-law, Bonnie (Ridley) Bauer.
A burial service will be held at Monadnock View Cemetery in Keene on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at 10 a.m. The family asks that anyone attending respect COVID protocols by wearing a mask. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hillsboro House Nursing Home, 67 School St., Hillsboro NH 03244. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave., Keene NH 03431 (www.cheshirefamilyfh.com).