Bernie Baye

February 9, 1947
March 27, 2024

Bernard Joseph “Bernie” “Fritz” Baye Jr., passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, with his loved ones and best friend by his side.  He was born February 9, 1947, to Bernard and Connie (Kelley) Baye Sr.  Fritz graduated from West High School where he excelled at football.  He married numerous times throughout his life, each marriage holding a special place in his heart and each blessed with children, before his final marriage to Karen (Larsen) Baye.  Karen was his spouse and partner for 32 years before her death in December of 2022.

Bernie loved to work and had many occupations throughout his life, the first being at McDonalds Hamburgers.  Bernie promoted up the ranks at Procter & Gamble, retiring as a manager in the shipping department.  Bernie also worked for Club Choice Fundraising.  He and Karen purchased and operated the Hindquarter Bar in De Pere before “retiring” to the beauty of Star Lake near Mountain where he worked for Mountain Hardware and Dollar General.

Bernie had a lifelong love of racing.  He was proud of the track championships he and his drivers accumulated in his IMCA modified race car.  Drivers included Brian Thielke, Kurt Jordan and V.J. Giguere.  He could be found most weekends at Seymour, Oshkosh, Shawano, Manitowoc, Beaver Dam Speedways and all across the Midwest and Florida.  He was well-known as a promoter of the sport, of local raceways and a talented track tender.

The cabin on Star Lake was a haven for Bernie and Karen.  He loved fishing, feeding the wildlife, especially the deer and foxes, and spoiling his dogs.  He was a proud member of the Paul Bunyan Riders Snowmobile Club and enjoyed maintaining and grooming the trails. Family and friends were always welcome for bonfires and pontoon rides, but his most loved time of the year was deer camp which he hosted for over 15 years.  Beginning with his friends from P&G, it expanded to many family and friends throughout the years. Deer camp allowed Bernie to pass his love of hunting on to his sons and brother and the tradition continues today at his son Ricky’s cabin.

Those who remain to celebrate his memory include his children, Lori Cologna and her fiancé Chris Plante, Anne Cortez, Steven Baye, and Rick Baye and his wife Sarah, Scott Mallien and his wife, Mary Pat, Pamela Mallien and her partner Joe Lemire. He lovingly spoiled grandchildren, Casey Cologna, Parker Cologna, Tony Conrad, Kayla (Lucas) Baldwin, Daniel Cortez, Sam Walker, Bella, Brynn and Bennett Baye, Tim (Beth) Mallien, Joseph (Arielle) McElroy, Jesse (Amanda) Wellens, Kevin Wellens, as well as great grandchildren, Kamryn McElroy, Connor Mallien, Autumn and Gaige Beck, Summer Baldwin, and Daniel Cortez Jr.  He is further survived by his mother, Connie Baye; two brothers, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jim Baye, Pat and Tina Baye, Roy Smits, Barb Baye, and Dr. Richard and Ann Larsen. He will be missed by best friend, Doug Vanden Langenberg and his dog Kalip.

In addition to his wife Karen, he was preceded in death by his father, Bernard Sr., a sister, Joan Smits, a brother, Dennis Baye and dogs Girl, Bubba and Sam.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 21st at the Bar on Holmgren Way.  There will be a sharing of memories at 2:30 p.m.

Bernie’s charisma was well-known.  He always let you know that your were important to him, signing off many a conversation with “I love you!”.  His family is grateful for everyone who came to visit, said a prayer, or made a phone call during this past month.  Thank you to the staff at Aurora Baycare, Dr. Mendoza and his staff, and his recent caregivers Kaitlyn and Kora.  Your kindness will always be remembered.