Erwin H. Baer, age 94, of Canby, MN passed away Sunday, January 9, 2022, at the Sylvan Court Nursing Home. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at the First Ev. Lutheran Church in Gary, SD with visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in the Grandview Cemetery, Gary. Houseman Funeral Home, Birk Chapel in Canby, MN is entrusted with the arrangements.
Erwin Harold Baer was born to Otto and Emma (Loeck) Baer, in rural Gary, South Dakota on October 25, 1927. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Gary, where he was a lifetime member. He married Fae Milton Engesmoe on January 6, 1952, sharing 59 years together before her passing. Erwin farmed near Burr, Minnesota from 1952 to 1992, dairying, then raising beef and pigs along with grain farming. Upon selling the farm, he and Fae moved to Canby, Minnesota. He drove a van for the Canby Pre-school for two years and riders fondly called him “Grandpa Baer”. During this time, he also drove truck for the Canby Co-op, delivering fertilizer. He transported DAC clients until officially retiring in 2013. Education was important to Erwin and one of his proudest moments was earning his GED and going through the graduation ceremony in May of 1995. In 2009, Erwin and Fae moved to Sylvan Place Assisted Living in Canby until Fae needed the care of the Sanford Nursing Home, where upon Erwin moved to Lebens Braun apartments until 2018. After a hospital stay, it was determined a move to the Sylvan Court Nursing Home would be in his best interest. Erwin enjoyed singing and was a member of the church choir, starting at the age of 15. His brother, Arnold, and him used choir practice as a way to get out and meet girls. He sang for many funerals, weddings and other celebrations. He had a love for the sport of baseball, playing outfield and first base for the Gary Baseball team for 13 years and rarely missed watching the Minnesota Twins on television. He was a member of a bowling league for 38 years with numerous trophies and patches to show for his skill. He and Fae enjoyed social dancing during their years together and according to Erwin, met at the Tunerville Ballroom. Many weekends were spent with friends at the Gary Legion, dancing and they even joined a Porter-Canby square dancing club. Together with their friends, they enjoyed many card parties, picnics and short trips to the Black Hills, Farmers Union bus trips and the Mitchell Corn Palace. They made a trip to New Mexico and Colorado with son, Gordy and wife, Bonnie, and that was the first time Erwin was ever in a pair of shorts! He was teased about finally knowing where the sun hadn’t shined! During that trip they even tried white water rafting and neither of them even knew how to swim. He had a quiet sense of humor and loved innocent pranks such as introducing Fae to the “friendly farmer wave”. Erwin served in many leadership capacities during his life: elder and president of the church, president of Farmer’s Union, and Chairman of AAL (Thrivent) and also served on the Florida Township board for about 15 years. He was a member of the National Guard, out of Madison, Minnesota, serving as a radio man. He was a Sergeant when he was dismissed, due to a medical issue found during a physical, when his unit was to be admitted into the Army.
Erwin is survived by his children: Gordon (Bonnie) Engesmoe, Debra (Gerald) Hauge, Douglas (Joan) Baer and Gary (Deanna) Baer, 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, and sister-in-law Eldeen Baer. He was preceded in death by his wife, Fae, parents, Otto and Emma Baer, brothers, Walter Baer (Edna) and Rudolph Baer (Gertrude), Arnold Baer; in-laws: Joseph and Emma Milton, Harold and Mabel Milton, Clarence and Lavera Reihe, Francis and Fern Svoboda, Joyce Milton, Vernon and Elaine Moravetz, Eldro and Gloria Juenke, William and Nyla Milton and Clarence and Barbara Milton.