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Norman Arthur Baur | 1936 – 2021

Norman Arthur Baur

September 11, 1936 – August 22, 2021

Norman Arthur Baur was born and raised at the family farmstead just outside Coeur d’Alene and it is on that beautiful property that Norm raised his own family and where he passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 22, 2021.

Norm came from a long line of farmers, as did his wife Emily. From early on, Norm set out to be a farmer himself, learning the ins and outs of growing big cash crops like corn and wheat, as well as learning to raise livestock, a passion he shared with his son Jake. But Norm also took an interest in vegetable farming, and alongside his wife, daughter Joni and granddaughters Rachel and Arianna, Norm branched out into growing organic vegetables and fruit. For three decades the Baur clan has been bringing their beautiful produce to the Kootenai Farmers Market, as well as maintaining a farmstand on the road outside the ranch. The Ranch also features pick-it-yourself blueberries, apricots, peaches and plums and in the fall, granddaughters Rachel and Arianna sell pumpkins and gourds, the proceeds of which paid for much of their college. Norm was very proud of his family and all they produced at Baur Ranch.

Norm met his wife of 63 years, Emily Sontag, in grade school. The two lived on the same country road with family farms less than a mile apart. The kids from both families spent untold hours together over the years, riding horses, swimming at nearby lakes, helping each other’s families during harvest, socializing over holidays and coming together for special occasions. Though not related by blood, the Baurs and Sontags were like cousins. No one was surprised when Emily and Norm became “an item” in high school and went on to get married the week after graduation. Two months after their wedding, Emily and Norm moved to Boise, where both attended Boise State, Norm majoring in forestry, Emily majoring in English and history. Both graduated in 1957 with B.S. degrees after which they promptly returned to Coeur d’Alene, settling into a small house downtown. For lack of other work, the young couple returned to their respective homesteads where they knew the routines and where the extra hands were very much needed. As luck would have it, within the first year back, Norm’s parents expressed that they were anxious to take a break from the rigors of farm life and they offered to swap residences with the young couple. Norm and Emily excitedly accepted the offer. And the rest is history!

It was on Baur Ranch that Norm and Emily started a family of their own, first with son Jake and two years later with daughter Joni. Over the years, Jake and wife Yolanda as well as Joni and her husband Karl built their own houses on the vast acreage, as did Norm’s sister Ester and her husband Art. Norm became the patriarch of the Baur family but always attributed the success and diversity of the ranch to the wide range of skills and the hard work that all of his extended family brought to the table.

As the Baur Ranch operation grew, Norm became well-known throughout the community and many folks, young and old, were employed by the Baurs to keep their rapidly expanding operation in tiptop shape. Norm was also a familiar face on the boards for the hospital, the school district and the junior college, and he helped to organize and lead the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America. Norm loved his community and gave generously of his talents in hopes of seeing it continue to thrive.

Sadly, in 2016, Norm’s wife Emily passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Following her death, Norm decided to ramp down his involvement with the farming operations and he groomed his son and daughter to take over the running of the ranch. Though Joni and Jake competently took on all the administrative responsibilities, Norm could always be seen, binoculars in hand, sitting on the porch keeping on eye on all the comings and goings. And up to month prior to his passing, Norm and Jake continued fishing together, going out to local rivers and lakes, even doing a bit of ice fishing during the winter months. Being out in nature and with his son made Norm very happy. And in that final year, Norm’s faithful dog Shep was by his side night and day, providing him great comfort, as well as protecting him as he became more frail.

It is with great sadness that this chapter of the Baur family history comes to an end. Norm's loving spirit continues to be felt in all that his children do and in the bounty that continues to pour forth from his beautiful and well-loved ranch.

Norm’s death was preceded by that of his parents Anna and Harold Baur and by that of his wife Emily. Norm is survived by his children Joni and Jake and their respective spouses Karl and Yolanda, as well as Joni’s daughters Rachel and Arianna. Norm is also survived by his sister Esther and her husband Art and their son Richard. The Baur Ranch continues on in his name, hopefully for generations to come.

Visitation for the community will be held at the Oster Funeral Home on August 28 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Norm’s funeral and burial will be a family-only affair and will be held at the Trinity Episcopal Church on August 29 at 4:30 p.m. with the burial at the ranch immediately following. It was Norm’s wish that any charitable gifts in his name be made for the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America. To make a donation, call (415) 715-4396.


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