Charles R. Bauerlein Sr., 84; civil engineer and peace activist

Charles R. Bauerlein Sr.
Charles R. Bauerlein Sr.
Posted: September 15, 2011

Charles R. Bauerlein Sr., 84, of Mount Airy, a civil engineer, peace activist, and father of 11, died of Burkitt's lymphoma Monday, Sept. 12, at the home of his daughter Lisa Troncale in New Holland, Pa.

For 40 years as owner of Recreation Consultants, Mr. Bauerlein designed community swimming pools and parks in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and developed plans and supervised pool-repair work for clubs, high schools, and municipalities. He also built a backyard pool at the Ambler home where he and his wife raised their family, his son Chuck said.

In 1981, Mr. Bauerlein and his wife, Agnes Schretlen Bauerlein, opened their Ambler home to the Plowshares Eight, including the Rev. Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip, during the group's two-week trial for breaking into the General Electric Co. plant in King of Prussia and damaging nuclear missile cones as an act of protest against the Vietnam War.

Agnes Bauerlein, who lost a brother and sister in bombings in her native Netherlands during World War II, supported the protesters. Mr. Bauerlein, though, had voted for Ronald Reagan and had to be coaxed by his wife and children to host the defendants. "Listening at the dinner table to the Berrigan brothers, he came around," Chuck Bauerlein said.

Mr. Bauerlein and his wife later formed a local chapter of Pax Christi, an international Catholic peace group, and he joined Veterans for Peace.

He supported his wife when she was briefly jailed for participating in antiwar demonstrations, including one at the Liberty Bell protesting the trade sanctions on Iraq, and when she traveled to Iraq in 1991 to pray for an end to the war there.

In 2002, the Bauerleins helped found Voice of the Faithful, a group of Catholics that advocates for more involvement by the laity in church decisions.

Mr. Bauerlein grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. During World War II, he served in the Navy on the West Coast.

After his discharge, he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering at Cornell University in 1950. That year, he and his wife married. They had met at a USO dance in Brooklyn.

For several years, Mr. Bauerlein was a salesman for Viking-Paddock Pools before starting his own business.

He enjoyed fishing and photography.

In addition to his wife, son, and daughter, Mr. Bauerlein is survived by sons Paul, Mark, and Matthew; daughters Gretchen Voll, Heidi Hopkins, Trudy Orthey, Annie Mergott, Judy Bauerlein-Mitchell, and Marianna; a brother; 26 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be said Friday, Sept. 16, at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, 109 E. Price St., Philadelphia 19144. Friends may call from 9:30 a.m.

Donations may be made to the church soup kitchen.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or

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