Obituary: Doug Baumgarten

By Sallie James

BRINY BREEZES — He was the beloved Briny Breezes dock master whose seasoned ear could pick out the sound of a misfiring boat engine from the front porch of his home, day or night. Boaters knew the slightest hint of trouble on the water would send Doug Baumgarten running toward the dock to jump aboard and lend a hand.

12213870060?profile=RESIZE_180x180Helping others was what “Dock Master Doug” loved best.

The longtime Briny Breezes resident, whose vibrant enthusiasm landed him in the ocean instead of on a boat deck at least once, died of complications related to cancer on July 7 at home surrounded by family. He was 83.

Mr. Baumgarten loved boats, planes and family and made sure all three were always a major part of his life. Relatives remembered him as a handsome man with a big smile who loved to tell cheesy jokes.

His parents were among the original settlers of Briny Breezes.

“He was very popular and outgoing,” said his daughter, Dawn Baumgarten. “He would literally just hear (boats) out of our window because you could see everything, and anytime something went wrong, he would run out and help. He would also keep a lookout and if you weren’t from Briny you were not allowed to be anywhere near the boats, or park near the boats or the water.”

Born Sept. 10, 1939, in the suburbs of Chicago, Mr. Baumgarten spent his early years in Warrenville and Wheaton, Illinois. He met Linda, the love of his life, in high school.

Upon graduation, Mr. Baumgarten joined the U.S. Navy, where his passion for boats and the ocean took hold. But despite his sense of adventure, he worried that Linda would fall for someone else, so he wrote her regularly for three years to make it clear he was still interested.

“He was very concerned she was going to marry someone else,” Dawn Baumgarten said. Linda waited and the couple married in 1961.

After spending three years as a sailor, Mr. Baumgarten became a student at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He then turned his sights to the skies. After graduating from college, he went to flight school and became a pilot for United Airlines, where he worked until he retired.

Mr. Baumgarten traveled a lot because of his job, but made time for his two young sons and daughter. He involved all three children in scouting and served as a Boy Scout leader, making sure his daughter had access to the same opportunities as her brothers.

Camping, fire building, dirt bike racing, dance, swimming and ballet were all part of his kids’ childhoods. Mr. Baumgarten’s life revolved around family: He named his boat the MiaKai after his two granddaughters, Mia and Kai, and carried a pinup-style photo of a young Linda in his wallet to the day that he died.

“She had one leg up and one leg down, a very sexy pose. It was a little racy for that time,” Dawn Baumgarten said. “He had that picture all that time. They just never stop loving each other.”

Mr. Baumgarten and his wife were active members of the Briny community. He belonged to the Jaycees, and was an avid tennis player who transferred his skills to pickleball. A week before he was hospitalized, he was on the pickleball courts hitting balls, his daughter noted.

Mr. Baumgarten had a sense of humor, adventure and responsibility that stemmed from his youth, when he caused a ruckus with a few cans of paint.

As the story goes, a new water tower had just been erected and the mischievous high schooler coyly told his parents he was going out one night to “paint the town.” What he really did was paint the water tower, with high school-themed graffiti that caused an uproar in the school district.

When the school threatened to cancel prom because it could not track down the culprit, Mr. Baumgarten came forward and fessed up.

“He confessed because he didn’t want everyone to miss prom,” his daughter said, laughing.

Always a forward thinker, Mr. Baumgarten donated his body to science in the spirit of learning and research.

Mr. Baumgarten is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter, Dawn Baumgarten, and two sons, Douglas and Todd Baumgarten; two sisters and a brother; and two granddaughters.

A virtual memorial service for Mr. Baumgarten is being planned. Friends who would like to participate or contribute should send an email to jenniferlcerulli@gmail.com with the title “Wacky Wings” in the subject line, and include an email, a preferred phone number and a note explaining how you knew Mr. Baumgarten.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Thursday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Jun 5
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 5
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in SOUTH PALM BEACH
Jun 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 30
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
More…