Edward Austin Bahns Sr., a longtime Little League coach, passionate golfer, and dedicated fan of his children and grandchildren’s sporting endeavors, died on Sunday at Southampton Hospital of a massive stroke. He was 82.
“Our dad loved life. He loved his family. He loved a hard day’s work, a good party, loved playing a round of golf on a beautiful fall day, and loved baseball,” his four children wrote.
Born on Feb. 11, 1929, on Race Lane in East Hampton, Mr. Bahns was the 13th of 14 children born to Frederick Bahns and the former Lizbeth Meinke, German immigrants.
Mr. Bahns’s younger years were spent in East Hampton. He joined the Navy in 1947 and traveled the world for two years, then returned to Brooklyn, where he married Lillian McDonough. They settled in upstate New York, where Mr. Bahns worked on farms and traveled, showing prizewinning cattle. He attended Cornell University, where he studied animal husbandry and learned new techniques of artificial cattle insemination, then spent time working in a prison teaching inmates the farming and cattle-raising trade.
Eventually, he packed up his family and moved back to East Hampton, where he built a house on Woodbine Drive in Springs. He worked for many years as a landscaper and private groundskeeper. Mr. Bahns was a charter member of the Springs Fire Department.
Mr. and Mrs. Bahns had a son, Edward Jr., and three daughters, Linda, Nancy, and Brenda. While he “proudly watched his daughter Nancy become a United States Marine, he spent endless hours grooming his son for a future in baseball,” the family wrote. Having been invited in his younger years to try out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, baseball was in his blood.
Mr. Bahns was a Springs Little League coach for years and also served as a Little League president for a time.
Among his proudest moments, his family said, was watching his son play for the United States baseball team in the Pan American Games in Mexico City. “Seeing his son holding an Olympic medal was a thrill never forgotten,” his daughter Brenda Crozier said.
The family spent the 1970s and ’80s in Florida, following the younger Mr. Bahns’s professional baseball career. Mr. Bahns owned a painting contracting business there and also coached his youngest daughter’s fast-pitch softball team for several years.
In Florida, golf became a passion. For years, Mr. Bahns maintained a three handicap. He won many a tournament and championship, and also invented and patented a piece of golf equipment called the Club Mate.
Returning home to the South Fork, Mr. Bahns became a member of the Sag Harbor Golf Club and served on its board of directors for a short time. He enjoyed spending time with friends at the club and had the distinction of having achieved two holes in one.
During his retirement, Mr. Bahns took pride in attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and activities and watching his son coach East Hampton High School baseball. “If there was a sporting event, he was there,” Ms. Crozier said.
In his retirement, Mr. Bahns had time to realize his artistic talents. He drew beautifully, his family said, and all of his children have some of his artwork.
Mr. Bahns is survived by his son, who lives in Springs, and daughters, Linda Ferrara of East Hampton, Nancy Leacy of Idaho, and Ms. Crozier, also of Springs. He also leaves 10 grandsons, a granddaughter, 5 great-grandchildren, a brother, John Bahns of New York and Florida, and a sister, Mary Chapman of Seattle.
Mr. Bahns leaves his family with “a legacy of fortitude, strength, integrity, and love,” they said. “All of us siblings agree that we have been blessed and so very fortunate to have had this wonderful man be our dad,” Ms. Crozier wrote. “His dedication, sacrifice, and unconditional love for his family was always evident. He was always there for us, no matter the reason, season, or situation.”
His wife of 64 years, Lillian Bahns, died before him, as did one grandson.
A service will be held tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. Mr. Bahns’s body was donated to science at the State University at Stony Brook.