John Peter Bauer, the entrepreneurial founder and President of Basic Food International, passed away January 6, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale after suffering a stroke in Paris. He was 93. Born in Furth, Bavaria, John was the son of August and Agnes Bauer.
The Bauer family fled Germany and the Nazis, first to France and then to the United States where John has lived since 1940. During World War II he served his new country in the United States Army Military Intelligence Service which enlisted German-born Jews for special training in intelligence, counterintelligence, interrogation, investigation and psychological warfare. Because of their knowledge of the German language, these soldiers known as the "Ritchie Boys" were a crucial weapon for the Allies, feeding them invaluable intelligence. As part of his duties with the Army Military Intelligence Service, John was a translator at the Nuremberg Trials. After the war, John lived in New York as the head of various trading companies formed for the distribution and processing of food products. In 1974, he sold these companies and moved to Fort Lauderdale where he founded Basic Food International. The company has been a force in building South Florida into the global trade power house it is today. As a result of its pioneering work, Basic Food was recognized as the 1992 Top Florida International Trade Company and in 1999; BFI won the award for International Business Leadership given by World City and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
John served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In recognition of his leadership in international agricultural interests, the French Government decorated him as "Chevalier de l'ordre du Merite Agricole" while the President of Germany awarded him the highest honor "Order of Merit First Class." In Fort Lauderdale, John served on many community Boards: Boys and Girls Club of Broward County; Consular Corps of Miami; Nova Southeastern University Huizenga School of Entrepreneurship; Florida Atlantic University Business School; Economic Development Advisory Board, City of Fort Lauderdale; Broward Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; Economic Development Advisory Board and many others;
He represented Guatemala as the Honorary Consul , an honor awarded him by the Guatemalan President 32 years ago for his service to the country. John's enthusiasm for food influenced every aspect of his life. On most nights, he and Mimi could be found frequenting Fort Lauderdale's finest restaurants where they knew every waiter and valet parker by name. Well into his nineties, John rarely spent a night at home, preferring to be out on the town eating and meeting and greeting friends. Ever the food and wine gourmet, John's world-wide travels were designed to experience the finest food then rest in-between meals in first-class hotels. He had recently traveled to Paris where he suffered the stroke that eventually took his life. John and his wife Mimi have been extensively involved in charitable community causes, contributing time and resources to many.
Honored by many, appreciated by all, John Bauer exemplified love of country and commitment to service. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mimi and two sons from his first marriage: Steven (Beky) of Los Angeles and David of Charlottesville, Virginia and two beautiful granddaughters Allysa and Carrie. He was predeceased by his son August Philip Bauer. John was also very close to his in-laws Dede and Luigi Salvaneschi and Clara and Ron Goff as well as his sisters and brothers-in-law Stella, Yolanda, Hernando and Ivan Orozco Giraldo.
Services will be held Thursday, January 10 at 10:30 AM at the Museum of Art auditorium. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John's name to the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Avenue, Davie FL 33314.