Wolfgang Dietzgen Bauer
- Published: January 27, 2011
Wolfgang Dietzgen Bauer died on Jan. 12 in Sacramento, Calif. with his family and close friends at his side.
Dietz, as he was known by all, was born the eldest child of Norman and Corda Bauer in Ann Arbor, Mich. on July 29, 1939. Dietz spent most of his childhood in Berkeley, Calif. and Logan, Utah, and earned his bachelor of science degree at Utah State University in 1961. Dietz served in the Philippines in the Peace Corps from 1963 to 1965, where he met and married his former wife, Connie. Dietz and Connie had two children, Anne and Eric. After the Peace Corps, Dietz went on to obtain a PhD at the University of Colorado in 1971. In 1974 Dietz joined Kettering Laboratories in Yellow Springs as a staff scientist. In 1986, Dietz became an associate professor on the faculty at Ohio State University, retiring in 2005 as professor emeritus. Dietz married Linda Ziegahn in 1998, and after his retirement from OSU, they moved to Davis, Calif., where he continued his work at the University of California Davis Department of Plant Science.
Science was Dietz’s lifelong passion; specifically, signal exchange in plant-bacterial interactions and biological nitrogen fixation. His curiosity found life in his scientific work and, though he may have groused about grant writing, he loved to think about science and exchange ideas with his many colleagues and collaborators across the globe.
Semi-retirement gave Dietz the opportunity to explore new activities. He and Linda traveled together, and enjoyed jazz and dance. Dietz had lots of fun with pottery, and his friends and family were the grateful, and often amused, recipients of the strange little sculptures that emerged from his fertile imagination. He had begun to take his golf game seriously this past year and was systematically cultivating his golf skills with the help of new friends. The monthly poker group also gave him great enjoyment, and he even managed to win from time to time. Keeping up with the apricot yield and wrestling with tomato plants was his focus in the garden.
Living in Davis also gave Dietz the time to expand upon his civic interests. He helped pick and haul fruit with Village Harvest, a community organization that harvests fruit trees in the city of Davis to provide food for the hungry. He enjoyed his connection with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in Sacramento and sponsored several of their educational forums. Dietz was also delighted by the educational approach of Park Day School in Oakland, where his grandchildren attend. Donations to any of these organizations are welcome.
Dietz was an extraordinarily generous person, who loved to cook for friends and family. His generosity was not eclipsed by his competitive spirit, which was often on display during family card games. The infectious, knowing smile that Dietz possessed will live forever in the hearts and minds of all that knew this wondrously gracious and kind man.
Dietz will be sorely missed by his many friends and by members of his family: his wife, Linda; sister, Annemarie Dietzgen, and two brothers, Perry and Niels; son Eric, and daughter Anne and son-in-law Nick Mottley; grandchildren Logan and Leila; sister-in-law Pat Forsythe, brothers-in-law Howard Foster and Mike Ziegahn, and mother-in-law Tressa Ziegahn.