SCOTT D. BAEHR ~ In Loving Memory ~ 1978-2017
REALTOR / Associate
Mac Knefely, News Journal correspondent Published 10:56 a.m. CT July 7, 2017 Perhaps his former wife and mother of his two children summed it up best. “To me, Scott was always kind of like Superman — he even had the shirt,” Christine Bogdanovic said at Scott Baehr’s memorial service. “He was super smart, he was super charming, he was super giving, he was a super dad, he was a super friend, a super son, super athletic and he was this super coach and teacher — and just all-around, he was a super guy. We all saw him as being super in one way or another.” Late Sunday, June 25, the city of Pensacola lost a favorite son as Baehr, 38, died in a one-car accident on Bayou Boulevard. That weekend, he had competed in a bowling tournament … oh, and he was a “super” bowler to go with everything else. He bowled a perfect 300 score on his final day. Hundreds of family members, friends, Mayor Ashton Hayward and wife, city councilmen, former coaches, teachers and those he taught and mentored were on hand to honor Baehr at Pensacola’s Trinity Presbyterian Church. Many were still in shock that the man who touched so many lives with his giving nature and infectious smile was gone. His generous impact on many communities in Pensacola is surpassed by his love for his children, Jacob 18, and Gwyneth, 14. With a cast on his leg and walking with crutches following a recent surgery, Jacob bravely spoke, remembering the fun times with his father. Family and friends also attended a fellowship event the next night to honor Baehr at one of one of his favorite places, Roger Scott Tennis Center. One friend, Angel Martinez, got to know him several years ago when Baehr was coaching his son’s soccer team. They immediately hit it off after learning about each other’s love for tennis. But Martinez will remember him much more than just a good buddy and tennis player. Scott Baehr 2 Scott Baehr celebrates with a soccer team he coached in 2004. (Photo: Courtesy of the Baehr Family) “He’s always been a real, true joy to be around," Martinez said. "I respected him a lot. He’s always been truthful, and he’s always been a pleasant person to just be around and talk to. He was a great father, and he was always there for my son. He always coached him and taught him a lot, and talked to him about different positions and things he needed to do to improve. He was very competitive, but he drew a lot of friends because he always had a pleasant smile and demeanor about him. The joy he brought out in other people was a reflection of him. I’m so sad we lost him at a young age, and I miss him a lot.” The final text message Martinez received from Baehr was simple, but encouraging nonetheless. “He had just re-strung my racquets, and he told me to come get them and ‘Hit ‘em good, Angel,’ ” Martinez said. “It broke my heart. I felt like I lost a son. He was always a joy to be around.” His friend’s tragedy also taught Martinez a valuable off-court lesson. “The one thing I’ve learned throughout this is to always wear my seat belt,” Martinez said. “Now, because of him, I make sure my son, me, my wife, all of us are constantly wearing our seatbelts.” Wanda Taylor learned a lot about Baehr’s qualities as a tennis player and as a person while teaming with him as his USTA mixed doubles partner for many years. On court, sportsmanship was his top quality, which meshed well with his game as one of the area’s top players. Off court, he cared deeply for others. That was just his nature. More: Pensacola's Clarence Bell played on Stevie Wonder's 'Innervisions' “Scott did a lot of things behind the scenes that a lot of people didn’t know,” Taylor said. “He helped a family come over from Mexico, and he was always employing people at odd jobs and helping people out. A lot of people never say that, because he never talked about that. I played with Scott probably 13-14 years, and I never saw him one time lose his temper, or behave badly — he never wanted to lose, but he never made anyone feel like a loser on court. He always made sure if they won, they felt good about winning. He was always courteous, and always had that effervescent smile that everybody keeps talking about.” She admired how he was able to fit so many hours into a day, mentoring young athletes in volleyball and basketball in addition to soccer and tennis coaching and playing very high-level tennis, while selling homes for Connell & Manziek Inc. and being central in his children’s lives. Rest is for the weary, but Baehr always had so much energy. “That’s just incredible,” Taylor said. “I don’t know how he did it. He was always on the go. And was always dedicated to Jacob and Gwyneth. He made every single person feel like they got 100 percent of him. Who is able to do that for every single person? I always knew that I was witnessing a family with great values who care about other people. He didn’t fake that. That is who he was. And that’s who is dad is, and that’s who is mom is. He was always so proud of both of his children. He wanted to talk about that more than anything. That’s an incredible testament to who they are as a family and the faith that they have.” Putting others first and making them feel special will be his true legacy, above all else. “He personally sold my mother-in-law’s home when she needed to go into a facility,” Taylor said. “I referred a couple of people and watched him work there, and he was always about the relationship. He was really good at what he did.” Taylor plans on making a book about Baehr, complete with photos of fun times on and off the tennis court. And an annual tennis tournament is in the works, which will most likely be held at the University of West Florida. Scott Baehr 3 A basket of sentiments from Episcopal Day School to the Baehr family. (Photo: Courtesy of the Baehr Family) “We’d like to do an invitational, with juniors, adults and mixed, because Scott played all three,” Taylor said. After graduating from Pensacola Catholic High School in 1997, Baehr starred at tennis at UWF under head coach Derrick Racine. He also shined in the classroom. He was part of the Golden Key National Honor Society, and was named to the Gulf South Conference All-Academic Team during his time with the Argonauts. Racine and Baehr remained close after his college days were done, as Derrick and Scott competed in many tournaments and traveled together. “The biggest thing I remember in college, was that he was almost unbeatable in doubles. He loved to compete,” said Racine, who added that Baehr had always been an instrumental part of the UWF program. “We’ve always stayed very close. We’ve done a lot of father-son events together, with Scott and Jacob and me and Austin. ... He’s almost like part of the family. All of Pensacola is at a great loss.” After graduation, Baehr began teaching tennis at The Club in Gulf Breeze, at Shoreline and also taught various clinics at Roger Scott and ran the Junior Argo Clinic with Racine and Rick Davis. Baehr was also a mentor to many youths at the YMCA, and coached multiple teams for the city of Pensacola. At Episcopal Day School, he led the 2016 girls basketball team to a championship in the Catholic Youth Sports League. “We’ve always loved and admired Scott so much,” his father, John Baehr said. “But we never knew how large a life he lived and how many lives he affected in such a positive way. We’ve found out through all the outpouring, how much he meant to so many people.” Walking the scene of the accident a few days later, Scott’s brother, Evan found his coin marked, “Think birdie.” An avid golfer as well, that’s how Scott always thought, as he searched for, and usually found, success in everything he did. One thing is for certain — thanks to his family and countless others who loved him, Baehr’s legacy will live on. Help continue Scott Baehr's spirit of giving The Scott Baehr Memorial Tennis Fund is now in place, with UWF in partnership. For more info on how to donate, go to scottbaehr.com, or donations can be made via the UWF website with the “Scott Baehr Fund” included in the memo under https://secure.uwf.edu/offices/development/give-now/donate/greatest-needs/.