The Honorable Harold J. Bauman, former Village Justice and Town Judge in Liberty, New York, passed away on June 4, 2023. He was 85.
A native of the Bronx, Judge Bauman attended The City College of New York, where he played on the last basketball team led by the legendary Nat Holman—the only coach ever to win the so-called “Grand Slam” of college basketball, when CCNY captured both the NCAA and NIT titles in the same season. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering at CCNY, and following service in the U.S. Army Reserves, embarked on his first career as an aeronautical engineer for Grumman Corporation. He helped design NASA’s lunar landing module, was a member of the Apollo 11 team that put Neil Armstrong on the moon and played a role in bringing the astronauts from the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission safely back to earth. He also participated in the design of vertical stabilizers for the F-14 fighter jet, and during the Vietnam War came to know a number of pilots who flew the jet in combat.
He changed careers in the 1970s, earning a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. He moved with his family to Liberty to join the firm of Appelbaum Eisenberg & Bauman, and practiced law for nearly 50 years. A past President of the Sullivan County Bar Association and former trial counsel for Sullivan County, he was also a Fellow of the New York State Bar Association and a member of its House of Delegates.
In a case that made law in New York State, Bauman represented the family of a member of a local electrical union who committed suicide after being suddenly and forcibly removed from his position. His investigation determined that the deceased had been harassed and discriminated against, and the family filed a workers' compensation claim despite the fact that no such claim had ever been successful. The matter was heard by a claims examiner who found for the family and was subsequently affirmed by the Workers Compensation Board and then by the Third Department of the New York Appellate Division. Eventually, the courts held that a workers’ compensation claim resulting from the death by suicide of an employee could be maintained in New York State.
In 2001 he was elected Village Justice in the Town of Liberty. He served in that role and as Town Judge for twenty years. Judge Bauman was a member of the Sullivan County Magistrates Association and the New York State Magistrates Association (NYSMA). NYSMA elected him President in 2016, and he was sworn in by then Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. In 2021, NYSMA awarded him its highest honor, Magistrate of the Year.
While serving as a Director of NYSMA, Judge Bauman again made law, successfully advocating with the State Legislature for the passage of a law elevating assaults against judges from Class A misdemeanors to Class C felonies. The "Bauman Bill" was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 5, 2012.
Judge Bauman is predeceased by his first wife, Lorraine, who died in 1999. He is survived by his wife Eileen, his son Scott and his wife Farnaz, daughter Elise Neal and her husband Jack, and four grandchildren: Alex and Logan Bauman, and Samantha and Matthew Neal.
A graveside funeral service will take place on Friday, June 9, 2023, at 11:00am at the Congregation Ahavath Israel Synagogue Cemetery, 1-187 Hysana Road, Liberty, NY. Services will be live-streamed and can be viewed by clicking here.
Arrangements are honorably entrusted to the Joseph N. Garlick Funeral Home - 845-794-7474 or www.josephngarlickfuneralhome.com.
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