Lela D. Bauer was born February 17, 1928, at Tobias, NE, the youngest of the four children of Herman F. and Frieda (nee Endorf) Bartels.  She went to be with Jesus on August 18, 2023, at Gardenside Long Term Care in Fairbury, NE.                 

She was baptized on March 11, 1928, at Zion Lutheran Church, near Tobias, by the Rev. E.O. Potratz.  She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith there on May 3, 1942, by the Rev. C.F. Schrein.  She attended Zion Lutheran School and Tobias High School, graduating in 1946. 

She began teaching in the Lutheran Parochial School system while attending summer and regular sessions at Concordia University in Seward, NE, graduating in 1955.  She taught kindergarten and primary grades at Lutheran schools in the Midwest and in Canada.  It was while traveling to Canada that she met her husband-to-be, Harold, at the Rock Island Railroad depot in Fairbury. 

On November 25, 1962, she was united in marriage to Harold Bauer at Zion Lutheran Church, Tobias, by the Rev. E.H. Prange.  They resided on the family farm near Gladstone, NE, farming and raising Poland China hogs, along with two sons that their union was blessed with.  She was a woman of strong faith in the Lord and was often heard singing her favorite hymns while working in the home or outside. 

Lela was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, Fairbury, and was active as a Sunday school teacher, VBS teacher, LWML, and the Harbine Braille Center.  She served as a leader for the Happyrock 4-H Club and was active in the PTA and Extension and Friendly Thursday Clubs.  In 2005, she moved to Fairbury and was employed part-time at Cedarwood Assisted Living for six years. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister Loretta (Walter) Drees, brothers Leonard (Lareta) Bartels and William (Leona) Bartels. 

She is survived by sons Alan (Cindy) Bauer of Sterling, IL, and Brian Bauer of Fairbury; grandsons Tyler Bauer of St. Louis, MO; Marc Bauer of Cedar Rapids, IA; Kyle Bauer of Logan, KS; and Blake Bauer of Geneva, NE; granddaughter Sarah (Chase) Cartwright of Wauwatosa, WI; and many beloved nieces and nephews. 

A gathering of family and friends will take place on Sunday, August 27, 2023, from 4-6 pm at Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home in Fairbury.  Services will be on August 28 at 10:00 am at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairbury, with the Rev. Glen Emery officiating. The burial will be at the church cemetery west of Gladstone. Memorials are to the Nebraska South District of LWML.