Howard Bauman had three children, but for decades he also mentored generations of Boy Scouts as leader of a local troop.
Just a few days before his death on Sept. 29, he was honored with a standing ovation at the Great Neck Troop 10's centennial celebration.
Bauman, a longtime resident of Great Neck, died of natural causes at home surrounded by family. He was 95.
He was known for his gentle disposition, kindness and keen leadership skills, which served him well in Troop 10, where he served for more than 50 years in various roles, including scoutmaster and chairman.
His son Andrew Bauman, 62, of Westbury, described his father as the kind of man who led by example and had an uncanny sense of when a Scout needed guidance.
"I shared him with hundreds of boys over the years who got so much from him," Andrew Bauman said.
Born June 24, 1920, in Manhattan, Bauman attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and then studied at the City College in New York, graduating with an art degree in 1941. He then joined the National Guard. In 1943, during World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces.
As a staff sergeant, he helped design airfields in the Pacific, where he worked in various places, including the islands of Guam and New Guinea.
Bauman, then 24, was sent to Australia on leave. He decided to explore Sydney University. When a fellow bus passenger gave him wrong directions, an 18-year-old Australian student named Joy Hodgett spoke up. They walked together to the university, where it turned out her lecture had been canceled.
"He was still around so I took him around the school; I couldn't get rid of him," she said. "I asked him to come home for tea and he did. And that was it. I think that was it for both of us."
They spent the rest of his three-day trip together and continued their romance with a two-year letter correspondence. It was the beginning of a love story spanning more than seven decades.
She immigrated to America in November 1946 and days later, the two married in San Francisco. They moved to New York City, and eventually settled in Great Neck in 1955.
Bauman put his artistic skills to use as an advertising executive at a Manhattan firm, retiring at age 88. When asked why he didn't retire sooner, he responded, "What else would I do?"
In fact, Bauman did plenty in his free time. Much of it was dedicated to the Boy Scouts; he attended weekly meetings long after his sons Andrew and Lawrence grew up. In 2009, he received an award from the group for 75 years of service.
Several of the young Scouts he mentored, now grown with children of their own, said Bauman taught them not just how to build fires and pitch tents, but how to become men.
"He embodied the Boy Scout oath and laws," said Bruce Lemkin, 65, of Maryland. "He was a father to me, as he was for many people."
Bauman's other great passions were the Mets and traveling the world with his wife.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by son Lawrence, 65, of Mendocino, California; daughter Elizabeth, 64, of Ithaca; and four grandchildren.
A service was held Friday at Riverside Nassau-North Chapel in Great Neck. Burial was at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Hawthorne in Westchester County.