Virginia Beach—Stephen David Baer, publisher, lawyer, entrepreneur, and pianist extraordinaire, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.
He was born to Eli and Sadie Glasser Baer in Washington, D.C. where he lived until age 10, before moving to Baltimore, Md.
Mr. Baer graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in economics and from the University of Maryland Law School. He was a member of the Maryland State Bar.
He is survived by his wife Joan London Baer, his two sons and their wives, David Bryan Baer (Jeannie) and Justin Michael Baer (Marissa), stepchildren Robert and Alicia London Friedman, Stephanie and Scott London, Jonathan and Betsy London Rubenstein and 10 step grandchildren who adored him.
Stephen had 20 first cousins on his mother’s side of the family and five first cousins on his father’s side. Family was the most important thing to him. He originated and organized two family reunions a year for the cousins and their children. It was so important to him for his sons to be close to his family. An only child, Stephen embraced his cousins as siblings, and they embraced him in turn.
During his years in Baltimore, Mr. Baer was active in the Jewish community and the Baltimore community at large. He was interested in scouting as his father had been, and he began the Cub Scout Troop that his sons belonged to and was their Scout Master. He was very active in his synagogue, Beth Tfilloh where he chaired numerous committees and was the president of the Brotherhood.
Professionally he began his career as Assistant Baltimore Solicitor and then developed and published The Forwarder’s List, a national publication for attorneys. His business was purchased by K-111, the media division of Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts of New York. Subsequently, he moved to New York City as a consultant where he lived for eight years. It was here that he made the time to renew his love for jazz.
Originally trained as a classical pianist at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, as a young boy he played on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour on national network TV. In subsequent years he played all over the world, Blue Beards Castle in the Virgin Islands, Excelsior in Rome, Bristol in Paris, Little Nell in Aspen, Maxime’s in New York and The World, a condominium ship that traveled the world. His talent and ability to entertain made him a magnet for all who heard him play.
Stephen had a natural curiosity about the world. His wife and he traveled widely but he always came home to Norfolk/Virginia Beach where his mother’s family was rooted. Several years ago he organized a weekend reunion for more than 300 people living all across the U.S. whose families had settled in the Berkley section of Norfolk when they immigrated from Europe in the 1880’s. His extensive research and organization gave the attendees the background and understanding of their personal histories.
Mr. Baer was a historian and avid reader. He rarely read fiction believing that his time was best spent on reading about the history of countries and the biographies of people who had led interesting lives. He placed an emphasis on fitness of his mind and body. And he began each day with the New York Times and a good work-out at his gym.
He was adventurous, whether skiing black slopes, sky diving or white water rafting. Gregarious, with a wonderful sense of humor, he befriended individuals from all walks of life. His friendships spanned the U.S, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and South Africa.
As a cousin of his once said, “Stephen, you are the hero of your life story.”
Funeral services were held at Congregation Beth El with Rabbi Jeffery Arnowitz and Cantor Gordon Piltch officiating. Burial was in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Jewish Family Service, Congregation Beth El, or a charity of choice. Online condolences may be offered through hdoliver.com.