BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Whether in the role of businessman, historian or volunteer, Bud Bauman has poured his energies into the village of Whitehouse for decades.
On March 15, Mayor Don Atkinson honored Bud, a longtime owner of Whitehouse Motors, active member of Whitehouse Historical Society (WHS) and volunteer with the Cherry Fest.
“We like to recognize people who contribute to the village,” said Atkinson as he handed Bud a certificate of recognition.
Whitehouse council member Louann Artiaga got to know Bud through the WHS. Bud has for years collected newspaper articles and obituaries about Whitehouse residents and events, and he assembled a scrapbook that will be kept by the historical society.
“He’s affectionately known as Whitehouse’s historian. He’s the first person people turn to when they want to know something about Whitehouse. We greatly appreciate your contributions over the years,” Artiaga said.
Until Bud’s son Darry took over management of Whitehouse Motors two years ago, Bud’s office space at the front counter was always decorated with photos and clippings of area historical news. In 2017, he used his knowledge about Providence Street – where Whitehouse Motors has been in business for 80 years – to conduct a walking tour for a video that raised funds for the WHS.
A Whitehouse native, Bud was still in high school when he began working for the family business. His father Jacob Herb Bauman and uncle Norm Bauman opened Whitehouse Motor Sales, a Ford dealership, in November 1941, a month before Pearl Harbor ushered the United States into World War II. New cars were no longer available, so the brothers had to make ends meet by offering repairs and parts instead.
“My father and Uncle Norm were able to survive by doing hard work. It wasn’t unusual for them to stay up all night like when they changed an engine in a milk truck for Page Dairy,” Bud recalled. “They had milk cans to pick up the next day. The cows didn’t care if the engine was being changed.”
During the war, everyone drove around on bald tires and it wasn’t uncommon for those with good tires to have them stolen at night, Bud said.
When the war finished, the brothers began selling Ford cars and trucks, but it was tough competing with bigger dealerships in Toledo, so the Baumans transitioned into a full-service gas station and repair shop. Bud took over in 1975 and continued as owner until his son Darry took over in 2020. It’s unusual for one business to stay open in the same building with the same family for 80 years, he said.
As a business owner, Bud got involved in events held in the village, including the Cherry Fest. For 20 years he’s led the Make It and Take It booth, where kids of all ages can assemble a toy or a project with pieces of wood, a hammer and nails.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last 20 years,” he said.
While the council members thanked Bud for his contributions, he had a list of his own notables to mention, including Bea Ludwig, who started the Cherry Fest when it was called Whitehouse Homecoming. Bud said he’s proud to see the village support the American Legion, Veterans Memorial Park and Whitehouse history.