Viking-style send-off honors memory of Waterville Valley man

Union Leader Correspondent
June 09. 2018 9:15PM
A model ship burns during the celebration of a "Viking Funeral" for Michael Baumann. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

WATERVILLE VALLEY - Family and friends gathered Friday to grant the late Michael Baumann's wish: to be honored with a facsimile "Viking Funeral."

Baumann, 76, who served 15 years as a commissioner for the Waterville Valley Estates Village District, was an avid sportsman who volunteered his expertise in technology to a variety of causes and was known for his wit as well as his "guerrilla" activism.

Upset with the condition of some local roads, Baumann launched a pointed public campaign.

"Who could forget the signs he placed on the roads of Campton? The butt of those signs was the Road Agent Butch Bain," said fellow Commissioner Lloyd Willey.

Shortly after Baumann's April 15 death, Bain called Willey and admitted while he and Baumann had "gotten off to a rocky start," he ended up liking him.

Samantha Baumann, who shared 31 years with her husband, reminded those in attendance there was no crying allowed at a Viking send-off.

In keeping with her late husband's marked sense of humor, Mrs. Baumann donned a platinum blonde wig plaited into two braids topped with a horned helmet, and armed herself with a mock battle ax.

The memorial was held pondside behind the community center at Waterville Valley Estates where the couple had lived for the past 17 years.

A wooden model of a Viking ship about 15 inches in length, and complete with a red and white striped sail, was launched with the intent of setting it ablaze via flaming arrow.

Archer Dave Mazur told the crowd he had to rely on the internet to find directions on how to craft a wooden arrow that would stay alight. While the arrow quickly caught fire with the assistance of a lighter, the tiny boat capsized within seconds of being pushed away from the shore.

Mazur let fly with the bow and the burning arrow arched gracefully into the center of the pond and hissed out. The model ship was retrieved, doused with some charcoal starter and set ablaze, paying proper homage to Oden.

Earlier Willey announced that the membership had voted to rename the dam that helps create the pond in Baumann's honor. A bronze plaque is being made and will be affixed to a large boulder at the edge of the beach near the dam.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Baumann joined the Navy right out of high school and was deployed to Guantanamo Bay during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Lloyd Willey displays the artwork for a plaque that will name a dam at Waterville Valley Estates in memory of Michael Baumann. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

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