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Chris M. Bauer

September 2, 1948 ~ March 13, 2020 (age 71)


 Chris Michael Bauer

1948 - 2020


On Friday, March 13, 2020, Chris Bauer, loving father, brother, colleague and friend, passed away peacefully at age 71.


Chris was born on September 2, 1948 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Heinz and Mariann Bauer. He was a 1966 graduate of Wauwatosa West High School. Chris received his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970 and his M.B.A from Marquette University in 1976, and was later honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of both universities. Chris also served his country through the National Guard.  He and Susan Bauer together raised three children: Michelle, Christopher, and David.


Chris was passionate in his lifelong career as a banker, beginning in the management-training program at First Wisconsin National Bank. He went on to serve in executive roles with Firstar Corporation, First Business Bank Milwaukee and Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin. In 2014 he received national recognition by American Banker as Community Banker of the Year.  Chris was also chairman of the American Automobile Association (AAA) board.


In addition to his professional commitments, Chris worked tirelessly to better the Greater Milwaukee community through his many volunteer and civic commitments, with a soft spot for helping those in need. He served on numerous not-for-profit boards, such as Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Next Door Foundation, Siebert Lutheran Foundation, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, United Way, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (Summerfest), and St. Luke’s Medical Center. He was also a founding member of Cross of Life Lutheran Church.


Chris held a special place in his heart for the University of Wisconsin. He was a Wisconsin Badger through and through, proudly wearing his Badger red on game day – and most every day in his retirement! He was a proud member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (Fiji).  With a commitment to ensuring that UW students receive the education that laid the foundation for his own career, Chris created the Chris M. Bauer Endowed Professorship in Banking and Finance, and the Chris M. Bauer Undergraduate Scholarship.


Chris was most passionate about his family and friends, who he loved deeply. He had a big and generous heart, great strength of character, and an incredible sense of humor. He was never without a good Sven and Ole joke at hand.  Chris was an outdoorsman and particularly loved the water. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing cards with his friends, movies, music, traveling the world, and dancing.


Chris is survived by his loving partner, Diane (Dee Dee) Pellegrin; his three children: Michelle (Brian), Christopher (Sarah) and David (Kate); and his five grandchildren.  Chris was the big brother and father figure to his siblings: Joel (deceased), Judie, David (Catherine), and Robert. Often referred to as “The Godfather,” his nieces and nephews loved him greatly. His parents Heinz and Mariann preceded him in death.


A private memorial service will be held with family.  A visitation and celebration of Chris’s life will be held at a later, to-be-determined date. In the interim, we welcome sharing thoughts and memories of Chris at Becker Ritter Funeral Home’s online guestbook at


In lieu of flowers, contributions in Chris’s memory can be made to Next Door Foundation, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, and Siebert Lutheran Foundation. Please see below for links to donate via online. 


A service summary is not available


Next Door Foundation

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin

Siebert Lutheran Foundation

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