Agnes Bauerlein, 87, social activist

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Agnes Gertrude Bauerlein

Agnes Gertrude Bauerlein, 87, of Ambler and Philadelphia, a mother, volunteer, and social activist, died Thursday, Nov. 26, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Evergreen Home in Oshkosh, Wis.

Mrs. Bauerlein was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, the sixth of 10 children. She told of watching from the family's rooftop as thousands of Allied forces parachuted from the sky in an attempt to end the occupation by Nazi Germany.

The loss of two young siblings in a bombing raid on Nijmegen in World War II set the stage for her antiwar social activism after she moved to the United States.

She married Charles R. Bauerlein Sr., in 1950. They were together for about 60 years.

The couple purchased a home they called Kidzaplenty Place in Ambler in 1963 and lived there for 25 years, raising 11 children. They later moved to Philadelphia.

In her mid-50s, Mrs. Bauerlein became an activist for peace and social justice, joined the Plowshares movement, and was arrested on numerous occasions for acts of civil disobedience, although no criminal charges were filed.

"She would stay overnight in jail and be released in the morning," said her son-in-law Michael Hopkins.

She strongly opposed the creation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction. At the onset of the Iraq War, Mrs. Bauerlein traveled to Iraq with the Gulf Peace Team.

She served 200 hours of community service with Project HOME, a Philadelphia nonprofit that provides shelter for the homeless, using volunteers to refit houses, and continued the work into her mid-70s.

From as early as 1970, the Bauerleins opened their home to inner-city children, peace activists, Buddhist monks, and refugees from the Vietnam War. All felt welcome because of her hospitality.

When her husband died in 2011, Mrs. Bauerlein moved to Oshkosh to be near family.

"She lived every minute of her life with gusto and followed her convictions even though others might disagree," her family said.

She is survived by children Charles R. Jr., Paul A., Lisa Bauerlein Troncale, Marianna, Gretchen Bauerlein Voll, Heidi Bauerlein Hopkins, Agnes Gertrude Bauerlein Orthey, Mark F., Annie Bauerlein-Mergott, Judy, and Matthew T.; 26 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and three sisters.

A celebration of her life is to be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, 500 E. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to St. Vincent's Face to Face Program, 109 E. Price St., Philadelphia 19144. The program provides meals for the homeless.

bcook@phillynews.com

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