Photographer and gardener Robert Clinton Bauer was a big, cuddly teddy-bear of a man, with a love for the joys of living that never wavered right up to the moment on June 11, 2017, when cancer of the esophagus took his life.
Bob was born on Aug. 25, 1951, in Tooele, Utah, to Clinton and Lucy Bauer, who gave him a gregarious nature and encouraged his pursuits in both science and art. Along with his high school buddies — “the Tooele Boys” — Bob explored the mountains, deserts and valleys of the West.
The landscape of Southern Utah was the second greatest joy of his life, surpassed only by his love for Mary J. Woodhead, his wife and partner for 39 years.
His passion for roses came a close third. Bob transformed his lot on the Tooele West Side into a beautiful organic garden with more than 400 distinct varieties of roses that enchanted everyone — from casual visitors to professional rosarians.
Gardening and photography were ideal vocations for Bob because they allowed him to engage both sides of his brain, the scientific and the artistic. He was a thinker and explorer who always stopped to smell the roses.
Bob worked as commercial photographer for years, but he was best known as an artist, who explored abstract expressionism as well as exceedingly realistic landscapes and still lifes.
He loved making art. His favorite shooting locations were the forgotten spots in Salt Lake and other Western towns where the decaying and rusting machinery and buildings of the past became works of art, thanks to Bob’s eye for detail, color and pattern.
Bob enjoyed hard work, but he never turned down a chance to connect with his fellow humans whether at morning coffee with photographers or friends or in the virtual world of Second Life.
He served his community as a member of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, as the long-time President of the Intermountain Chapter of the American Society of Magazine Photographers and as a member of the Utah Rose Society.
His home was always the center of the action, where it was common for people who otherwise would have never crossed paths to become lifelong friends, and sometimes even more.
Bob loved Hawaiian shirts, purring cats, hot coffee, tasty food and movies from the romantic to the avant-garde. He never got bored, because there was always a new band to discover, a new trail to hike and a new friend to meet. He loved to argue because he was always right — or so he said, and he often was.
Bob graduated from Tooele High School and attended BYU and the University of Utah, where he majored in geology and questioning authority. Bob is survived by his wife, Mary J. Woodhead; his sister, Patricia McBride; and seven nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held in the near future.